HomeTeamsDodgersWill Walker Buehler Come Back As The Ace Or Just Another Starter?

Will Walker Buehler Come Back As The Ace Or Just Another Starter?

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The Los Angeles Dodgers received some great news this week as former ace and two-time All-Star Walker Buehler will make his much-anticipated return to the mound on Monday against the Miami Marlins.

It’s been nearly two years since Buehler has made a major league start after suffering an elbow injury which required Tommy John surgery, the second of his career. It’s been a long road back for Buehler, not just with physical therapy and building his arm back up, but the Dodgers also making sure they’re taking every precaution to ensure he won’t suffer any setbacks.

Buehler spoke about his return and feeling those ‘butterflies’ of anticipation.

I think that’s kind of what has always given me the butterflies is an entire organization’s success for that day relies on you, and so that’s probably the thing I miss the most,” Buehler said.

For as much as the organization will rely on Buehler for a particular day, they probably won’t need him to carry the rotation like in years past…at least not right away.

The Dodgers’ front office made it a point of emphasis this offseason to add depth to this rotation that has been decimated by injuries and off-the-field issues in the past three seasons. This is why they signed Japanese sensation Yoshinobu Yamamoto to a record-breaking contract, acquired Tyler Glasnow from the Tampa Bay Rays, and have called up prospects Bobby Miller and Gavin Stone last year and enhancing their roles this year.

So knowing Buehler hasn’t started in a game since June 2022, the Dodgers would like to ease his transition and allow him to settle into the rotation, and perhaps slowly re-establish himself as the ace of this staff.

However, if Buehler comes in as the third guy in this rotation behind Glasnow and Yamamoto, that goes to show you the depth of the Dodgers’ pitching staff that a guy that anchored the rotation in their 2020 World Series championship is not a frontline starter.

Even though it’s early May, the Dodgers understand Buehler is needed to win some games and eat some innings. The real dividend to having Buehler back will pay off late in the season, particularly in September and October, when the Dodgers will really need the Big Game version of Buehler to be healthy, hungry, and ready to take the ball in either Game 1 or 2 of the NLDS.

In the last two postseasons, it’s been obvious the Dodgers are clearly missing the ultra-competitive prowess and vigor he brings to the mound, not to mention ability to pitch deep into a game, and it’s shown in the Dodgers’ quick exits from the playoffs in 2022 and 2023.

Bookmark that for another day. The objective now for Buehler is clear: get him comfortable on a major league mound again, get him in the flow of the season, keep him healthy, and have him start out as just another guy in the rotation.

Hopefully, we see Buehler evolve from a number three in the Dodgers’ staff to hopefully that dynamic ace we saw early in his career, just give it some time.

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