His manager is taking a wait-and-see approach.
The right-hander threw a modified bullpen session at Dodger Stadium before Tuesday night’s game against the Minnesota Twins. Buehler threw from the mound to a catcher in a standing position.
Buehler had his second Tommy John surgery on Aug. 23. His first was in 2015 shortly after being drafted in the first round by the Dodgers.
“The 8½, 9 months has gone pretty quick. I feel like I’m over two-thirds of the way,” Buehler said. “Sept. 1 is still the goal. I want to get up to a certain pitch count where me being here is not a hindrance.”
Buehler’s next step in ramping up includes throwing to a crouching catcher in a couple weeks.
With Tommy John surgery recovery time usually 12-18 months, manager Dave Roberts admitted Buehler’s timeline is aggressive.
“That’s embedded in Walker, the confidence. That’s not surprising,” Roberts said. “Today was a good day and we’ll see how he progresses.”
While Buehler would like to be back this season, he said he will not try to rush back. Being healthy for 2024 remains the foremost goal.
“I have to try and look out for myself and the team here. The biggest thing is I want to come back healthy for all of next year,” he said. “There are some exciting parts of playing at the end of this year and that’s something I want to do. But if I’m not healthy enough, I’m not going to try and put a square peg in a round hole.”
Buehler went 16-4 with a 2.47 ERA in 2021 while making his second All-Star team and finishing fourth in the NL Cy Young Award voting. Last season, Buehler was 6-3 with a 4.02 ERA in 12 starts. The 28-year old has a 3.02 career ERA.
Dodgers’ Walker Buehler hoping to return for final month