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Walker Buehler lands on injured list with right flexor strain

Dodgers RHP won’t throw a baseball for 6-8 weeks

New York Mets v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

The Dodgers will be without Walker Buehler for at least two months, after test results on his right elbow. He was placed on the 15-day injured list on Saturday, officially with a right forearm strain, later clarified to a right flexor strain.

Buehler left Friday night’s start with right elbow discomfort after just four innings and 70 pitches, having felt something in his elbow on a breaking ball in the third inning that didn’t subside.

“Whatever it is, we’ll handle it,” Buehler told reporters in San Francisco after Friday’s game, as shown on SportsNet LA. “All the faith in our medical staff and what not, but before we kind of dive into that, we need to know what we’re dealing with.”

Over his previous six starts, Buehler allowed 22 runs in 28⅓ innings, including six home runs, after allowing only two homers in his first six starts this year. Last Saturday, Buehler recorded only seven outs against the Mets in the shortest start of his career. The most glaring difference this season compared to his career is his diminished four-seam fastball, with opponents hitting .368 with a .618 slugging percentage in at-bats ending with a fastball.

Buehler on Friday refused to say his elbow discomfort was the reason for his recent struggles.

Michael Grove was recalled from Triple-A to take Buehler’s place on the roster, and give the Dodgers an extra arm. This is the third major league stint for Grove this season, starting once and pitching once in relief. He’s allowed seven runs (three earned) in 4⅔ innings in the majors, and in between those games with the Dodgers he pitched twice for Oklahoma City, posting a 5.40 ERA with more walks (six) than strikeouts (four) in his first 8⅓ innings in Triple-A.

As for replacing Buehler’s spot in the rotation, with off days Monday and Thursday this week, the team has some flexibility with when they would need to use another starter. It could be Grove, or Tony Gonsolin next weekend on four days rest, or perhaps Andrew Heaney, who is slated to make one more minor league rehab start before his return.