Walker Buehler Returns to the Injured List

Walker Buehler Returns to the Injured List

Walker Buehler, a key pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, has been placed on the injured list due to right hip inflammation. This development follows a challenging period for Buehler, who missed most of the 2022 season and all of 2023 after undergoing a second Tommy John surgery. The 30-year-old right-hander has struggled to regain the dominant form that made him a cornerstone of the Dodgers' rotation from 2018 to 2021.

Career Highlights and Recent Struggles

Between 2018 and 2021, Buehler was an instrumental player for the Dodgers, achieving 39 wins and maintaining an impressive ERA that never rose above 3.44. His performance during those years solidified his reputation as one of the top pitchers in Major League Baseball. However, his comeback in 2024 has been less than stellar. Since his return on May 8, 2024, Buehler has compiled a 1-4 record with a 5.84 ERA in eight starts.

His latest outing in Colorado epitomized his recent struggles. Despite taking a line drive off the hip during the game, Buehler stayed on the mound, ultimately surrendering seven runs on seven hits, including two home runs. Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts acknowledged that Buehler’s hip had been sore for several starts, noting that the decision to place him on the injured list was made to allow him to regroup both physically and mentally.

Bobby Miller Activated

In a corresponding move, the Dodgers have activated right-hander Bobby Miller from the injured list. Miller, who has not pitched since April 10 due to right shoulder inflammation, is set to rejoin the rotation. Now in his second major league season, Miller has shown promise, though his 2024 statistics reveal a 1-1 record with a 5.40 ERA in three starts. His return to the lineup is timely, given the number of injuries plaguing the Dodgers’ pitching staff.

Miller had an impressive rookie season in 2023, suggesting that he has the potential to fill the gap left by Buehler’s absence. His return adds much-needed depth to a pitching staff that has been affected by a series of injuries throughout the year.

Looking Forward

Despite his recent challenges, Buehler's career statistics remain commendable. Over seven seasons, he has accumulated a 47-20 record and a 3.17 ERA. The Dodgers are hopeful that a period of rest will enable Buehler to return to his top form. Both Buehler and the team are optimistic about his recovery and remain focused on long-term success.

Addressing his current state, Buehler has expressed his desire to contribute to the team. "It sucks to feel kind of invaluable, or like you're hampering your team. At the end of the day, we really like our team and want to be ready for the end of the year. And I'm going to do whatever I need to do to feel like I can help our team at the end of the year, and do everything in my power to be valuable enough to be on those rosters," Buehler stated.

Manager Dave Roberts also commented on the situation: "I think he's a little bit sort of finding himself again. I think he's still in search mode. So, as he's getting back to health, I think for the mind and some clarity, I think this will be a good thing."

Dodgers' Depth and Flexibility

Injuries are an inevitable part of Major League Baseball, and the Dodgers have demonstrated their depth and flexibility in dealing with them. The decision to rest Buehler instead of pushing him through his struggles illustrates the team’s prudent approach to injury management. Bobby Miller stepping up to fill the void left by Buehler’s absence is a testament to the organizational strength and the next-man-up mentality that has kept the Dodgers competitive year after year.

All eyes will be on Buehler's recovery process and his eventual return to the mound. His resilience and dedication to the team's future remain unquestioned, and there is cautious optimism that he will regain his form, contributing significantly to the Dodgers’ postseason aspirations.