LOS ANGELES — After announcing last week that Walker Buehler would have season-ending surgery on his elbow, the Dodgers indicated that were uncertain what procedure Buehler would have to undergo.
Talking in the dugout before Monday’s game at Dodger Stadium, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman still said there was a wide range of possibilities when Buehler was operated on by Dr. Neal ElAttrache. Friedman acknowledged that a second Tommy John surgery – because of its 15-month recovery time – would qualify as the worst-case scenario.
It is the worst-case scenario.
Buehler posted to his Instagram account that it was “Tommy John Round 2 – let’s roll. See ya when I see ya.”
Buehler also underwent the elbow ligament-replacement procedure shortly after he was drafted by the Dodgers in 2015. It is unclear from his post when the surgery will be performed (assuming it hasn’t been done already). The Dodgers have made no announcement.
The surgery almost certainly means Buehler will not pitch again until the 2024 season. The 28-year-old Buehler could be a free agent following that season.
Buehler acknowledged earlier this year that he has been plagued with persistent issues involving his elbow for some time. In 12 starts this season, he struggled, posting a 4.02 ERA and finally left his start in San Francisco on June 10 with elbow pain.
An MRI at the time diagnosed a flexor tendon strain and Buehler also underwent surgery to remove a bone spur in his elbow. The Dodgers were hopeful he might be able to return to pitch in September or possibly in the postseason.
But the discomfort returned as Buehler attempted to progress in a throwing program. Another MRI was difficult to read – not uncommon with pitchers who have had Tommy John surgery – and Dr. ElAttrache recommended surgery to determine the extent of damage in the elbow.
More to come on this story.