Dodgers News: Roberts Ready to ‘Bet On’ Buehler’s Strong Return from Tommy John

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is optimistic about star pitcher Walker Buehler’s recovery and future following his second Tommy John surgery.

As the late James Ingram sang in 1984, there’s no easy way to break somebody’s heart. He probably wasn’t talking about telling a baseball manager his Opening Day starter will miss all of next season after having his second Tommy John surgery, but he might as well have been.

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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts got the news on Tuesday that Walker Buehler‘s surgery ended up being the worst-case scenario: Tommy John.

While we already knew Buehler’s season was over for 2022, the recovery timeline for Tommy John — especially a player’s second such surgery, like in Buehler’s case — means he will miss the entire 2023 season, too. This leaves Roberts and the Dodgers front office with some pretty big questions about their 2023 starting rotation.

Unsurprisingly, though, Roberts is taking an optimistic view of Buehler’s future, according to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.

“I think that there’s always concern as far as how it will play out. Certainly, we’ll bet on Walker as far as the rehab process and Dr. ElAttrache is one of the best in the world so his confidence adds confidence for us. I think there’s a sense of relief for Walker and at least we have a course of action.

“It just finally came to a head where we had to make a decision. I do think ultimately we feel good about where he’s at and the future.”

As Roberts notes, Dr. Neal ElAttrache is a world-renowned surgeon, especially when it comes to Tommy John surgery. In fact, according to Jon Roegele on Twitter, Buehler is the first case where a TJ performed by ElAttrache has required a “revision surgery.” (ElAttrache performed Buehler’s previous surgery in 2015.)

Buehler has been through Tommy John before, and he came back quite a bit better than he had been before the surgery. The hope is that his ineffectiveness this season was related to the underlying injury and that he can come back close to the version that got Cy Young votes in 2021.

Whatever version of Buehler we see, it won’t be until 2024. But as Roberts said, the Dodgers are willing to bet on Buehler in the rehab process, so don’t be surprised if the returning Buehler is even more of a bulldog than we’ve seen before.

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