After Walker Buhler left yesterday’s game with discomfort in his right elbow, Dodgers coach david roberts told reporters (including Fabian Ardaya of Athletic and Jack Harris of the LA Times) that Buehler will be placed on the 15-day disabled list. The team officially announced the trade, citing Buehler’s placement was due to a right forearm strain.
Buehler is currently undergoing an MRI to determine the extent and nature of the injury, but Roberts said the right-hander will be missed.”a good moment.” right-handed Michael Bosquet will be called upon to take Buehler’s spot on the active roster. Buehler underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015, and while he’s avoided any serious elbow/forearm issues since, it’s understandably concerning to see Buehler sidelined again with any sort of related injury. More will be known once the MRI results come out, as it’s not yet clear if Buehler’s season (or beyond) could possibly be in jeopardy.
At the very least, the Dodgers will have a big vacancy to fill in the starting rotation, even if Buehler hasn’t quite been his ace level in 2022. Buehler has a 4.02 ERA over 65 innings , with a very solid 6.2% walk rate but a below-average 21.2% takedown rate and disappointing Statcast numbers. The biggest problem is Buehler’s four-seam fastball, which was more dominating pitch at times in 2018-21, but hitters have played on the four-seam this year. The speed dropped to an average of 95.2 mph, although not that far below Buehler’s career average speed of 96.1 mph on his four-seam.
The Dodgers could have a rotation replacement for Buehler on relatively short notice, as robert said this Andrew Heane is slated for another rehab start on Tuesday and could be activated from IL for the Dodgers’ game with the Guardians on June 19. Los Angeles also has holidays on Mondays and Thursdays, so a fifth starter won’t be immediately needed in the short term.
Overall, of course, losing Buehler for a significant period of time will certainly increase the Dodgers’ focus on adding starting pitchers at the deadline. While LA has gotten its generally strong results from its rotation this year, pitching was already expected to be a target area, to add more depth and quality to the top five. President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman hasn’t been shy about adding big names (including star pitchers like Max Scherzer Where Yu Darvish) to the roster in past trade deadlines, so everything from depth additions to blockbuster deals could be on the table for the Dodgers before Aug. 2.
Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urias, Tony Gonsolin, Tyler Andersonand Heaney now form the current rotation, with Dustin May (JT surgery) and Danny Dufy (flexor tendon surgery) is expected to return at some point later in the season. Pitchers like Grove, Ryan Pepiotand Michael White have also gotten punctual starts this season and could be called up again for more rotation work or potentially relief roles depending on how the club chooses to deploy one of those pitchers.