News broke Tuesday — originally from Walker Buehler himself — that Buehler’s surgery ended up being the worst-case scenario: his second Tommy John surgery.
Now that the surgery is complete, Buehler’s path forward becomes clearer, although the timeline remains vague. Last week, Dustin May returned to the mound about 15.5 months after surgery.
But second Tommy John usually takes longer to recover – Dodgers backup Caleb Ferguson in May 2020 after having second Tommy John in September 2020 Just returned, and recovery time is about 20 months.
20 months from now will be the first month of the 2024 season. Even a best-case scenario of about 15 months would have him ready to pitch a month or so after the 2023 World Series. So Beeler is sure to miss all of 2023, but beyond that, we don’t know much. Neither did Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, according to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.
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“I don’t know. I just know it went well today. As we start to get into rehab and progress, when he starts picking up the ball, we’ll be Got a better feeling. I think it (surgery) went as well as could be expected, just left open ended so it’s impossible to answer right now.”
Losing Beeler in 2023 also creates some problems for the starting rotation. The Dodgers have Tony Gonzolin, Julio Urias and May as locks in next season’s rotation. Beyond that, there are a lot of question marks. Clayton Kershaw seems likely to return, and it’s not crazy to think that free agents Tyler Anderson and/or Andrew Heaney might want to re-sign with Los Angeles.
Then you have rookies like Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot, Michael Groff and Gavin Stone who all seem ready to play in the majors next year Contest.
So there are plenty of options, but Friedman really doesn’t know which direction they’ll go.
“I haven’t really finished my hugs this offseason. We took a little time in June, early July, and it started to make a difference But obviously, things have changed.
“There’s no question that this is something we have to address as we go into the offseason. “