Walker Buehler will have elbow surgery and miss the rest of 2022. On today’s Leading Off with True Blue LA podcast, we look at what that means for the Dodgers this year, and what it might mean for 2023 as well.
Buehler was already going to be a wild card heading into September, unknown if he’d be able to build up to start by the time the playoffs come. Now that’s moot, and the question becomes what exactly is next Tuesday’s surgery for, and just how long will he miss into next season, if at all.
Dustin May’s return — starting this Saturday against Miami — is a nice salve for the loss of Buehler, as he adds another arm to the mix to potentially start in October, and not just the short-burst type of outings he had in 2020.
Tuesday’s other Dodgers news involved Cody Bellinger getting benched for a few days for what Dave Roberts told reporters in Milwaukee was “a reset” for the centerfielder. It’s been a bad season at the plate for Bellinger, hitting just .206/.261/.399 with career-worst strikeout and walk rates. He has one hit in his last 18 at-bats, with the only hit a home run off a position player.
Bellinger’s defense is incredible and earns him playing time, but the Dodgers have the luxury of taking time to try to get Bellinger right at the plate, because they have Chris Taylor and Trayce Thompson to fill in in center field, plus Joey Gallo in the outfield as well.
That position-player depth, the Dodgers’ best since the start of the 2021 season, also plays into an upcoming decision on Edwin Ríos the Dodgers have to make on Wednesday. Tuesday was the 20th day on Ríos’ rehab assignment in Triple-A, the maximum allowed to non-pitchers per MLB rules. That means Ríos needs to be activated from the 60-day injured list on Wednesday. With nobody on the active roster the Dodgers are likely to send down, Ríos might be optioned and wait about two more weeks before coming back once rosters expand on September 1.
Episode link (time: 18:18)