Walker Buehler had the aforementioned elbow surgery on Tuesday, and it was a doozy. The opening day starter had both Tommy John surgery and flexor tendon repair, the Dodgers announced on Tuesday.
The surgery was performed by team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday in Los Angeles, and though the team did not announce a timeline, this almost certainly means Buehler won’t pitch again for the Dodgers until 2024.
Buehler earlier Tuesday posted on Instagram that he had Tommy John surgery, which is his second such procedure. He also had the reconstructive elbow surgery in 2015 after getting drafted by the Dodgers in the first round out of Vanderbilt.
Buehler has been sidelined since June, originally placed on the injured list with a flexor tendon strain. With a rehab timeline that was set for 10-12 weeks, he also had arthroscopic surgery in June to clean up bone spurs in his elbow.
But the awaited September return of Buehler was scuttled when he felt soreness this month while throwing. A subsequent MRI showed that Buehler needed elbow surgery, though when that was announced, on August 15, the Dodgers said they would not know exactly what Buehler would need until the surgery itself.
Dodgers reliever Jimmy Nelson last August also had both a flexor tendon repair and Tommy John surgery that wiped out both last season and this one, the latter after re-signing with the Dodgers this March.
Having a second Tommy John surgery isn’t rare. Daniel Hudson, the Dodgers reliever who ended his season in May with a torn ACL, had Tommy John surgeries in 2012 and 2013. But, as pitching injury tracker Jon Roegele pointed out, having a second Tommy John procedure after the first was performed by Dr. ElAttrache could be unprecedented, at least before Buehler on Tuesday.
With Walker Buehler undergoing his second Tommy John surgery today, he did go back to the same surgeon, Dr. Neal ElAttrache. This is the first TJ surgery I've recorded having been done by Dr. ElAttrache that has required a revision surgery. pic.twitter.com/BzwciupCyc— Jon Roegele (@MLBPlayerAnalys) August 23, 2022
Buehler ends his season with a 4.02 ERA, 4.24 xERA, and 3.81 FIP in 12 starts, with 58 strikeouts in 65 innings.
He has two more years of salary arbitration eligibility after this season, and will be a free agent after 2024.