Despite his efforts to return to the mound this season, Walker Buehler failed to make a single appearance for the Dodgers in 2023.
Buehler last appeared on a big league mound back on June 10, 2022, where he struggled in four innings against the rival San Francisco Giants. After the start, Buehler was placed on the injured list with a right forearm strain, before it was revealed two months later that he had torn his UCL, requiring Tommy John surgery and a repair of his flexor tendon, leaving him shelved for the remainder of the 2022 season.
Although there wasn’t an initial timetable for his return, it was believed that Buehler would miss the entirety of the 2023 season.
Buehler intended on making his return to the team during the 2023 season, with September being his main target. He would then make one rehab start at Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he struck out two hitters in two shutout innings, with two more rehab starts subsequently scheduled. That would be the only time Buehler would pitch in a professional baseball game in 2023.
After careful consideration, Buehler announced that he would not be returning to the mound in 2023.
“My goal since last year has been to return to a major league mound this season,” Buehler said in a statement. “After many conversations with my doctor, the Dodgers’ front office, training staff and my family, we concluded that waiting until next season is the right course of action. I am disappointed that I will not be able to help this team go after a title in the 2023 postseason, but I look forward to returning fully healthy in 2024 and bringing another World Series to L.A.”
Stats: 2 IP, 2 K, 0 BB in one rehab start with Triple-A Oklahoma City
Buehler has five years, 168 days of service time, and is arbitration eligible this winter. MLB Trade Rumors projects Buehler to earn $8.03 million in 2024, and Cot’s Baseball Contracts predicts $8.025 million. Buehler will be a free agent after this upcoming season.