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Dodgers notes: Freddie Freeman, Walker Buehler, Daniel Hudson

Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Freddie Freeman is the Dodgers winner of the the Heart and Hustle Award for 2023, an award that “honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game.” The award, which began in 2005, is voted on by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, which announced the winners this week.

There is one Heart and Hustle award winner for each team, and the overall MLB winner will be announced in November.

Freeman has played his way into National League MVP contention, writes Juan Toribio of

Walker Buehler threw a bullpen session on Friday at Titleist Performance Institute in San Diego, complete with motion-capture technology to see where he’s at in his return from Tommy John surgery and flexor tendon repair last August.

Buehler said back in May that he is planning for a return to the Dodgers rotation by September 1, which was seen as aggressive at the time.

Dodgers assistant pitching coach Connor McGuiness was with Buehler Friday, then talked to Bill Plunkett at the Orange County Register about the bullpen session and the timeline for Buehler’s return:

“For him actually? Who knows. We’ll see,” McGuiness said when asked if Sept. 1 is a realistic target. “You never want to guarantee a date or anything like that, because who knows? Anything could potentially happen as he goes through it. I think it’s one of those things where if he passes all the proper tests, and our group, with the resources we have, feel good about it, we’ll be ready to rock and roll.”

If the next step for Buehler is facing hitters, that could come as early as next week at Camelback Ranch. He mentioned on his weekly appearance on the Just Baseball podcast on Monday that August 8 was a possibility for him to pitch to hitters.

Daniel Hudson, out with a sprained MCL in his right knee, told Mike DiGiovanna at the Los Angeles Times there was only an outside chance he might return in September. Whether the 36-year-old right-hander returns this season — in September, or October — he is uncertain on whether he will pitch beyond this year.

From DiGiovanna:

“I’m kind of sick of being in pain,” Hudson said. “I just haven’t been right with the knee stuff and my ankle stuff [this past spring], and now this. It just hasn’t been a good 14 months for me. So, you know, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

The Dodgers have a club option on Hudson for 2024 worth $6.5 million.

Cole Hamels officially retired on Friday. The 39-year-old was with the Padres this year, but hasn’t pitched in a game in the majors or minors since 2020, dealing with myriad injuries. He signed with the Dodgers in August 2021 in hopes of helping down the stretch, but his comeback attempt ended before it began after one shortened simulate game.