By BETH HARRIS
AP Sports Editor
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dodgers All-Star pitcher Walker Buehler underwent Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career on Tuesday, leaving Los Angeles heading into the playoffs and likely next year without a key member of the rotation.
“There’s no coating,” said Andrew Friedman, president of baseball operations. “It was a blow, but we will get it back. I know he’s itchy already.
The team revealed earlier this month that the 28-year-old right-hander will undergo season-ending elbow surgery. At that time, the team did not say that Buehler would undergo Tommy John surgery. The typical recovery time for the ligament replacement procedure is 12 to 18 months.
“It was kind of the worst-case scenario in our mind,” Friedman said.
Buehler was 6-3 with a 4.02 ERA this season. He had 58 strikeouts in 65 innings pitched over 12 starts.
He was discontinued in June due to strained flexors and also had a bone spur removed. The prognosis called for him to recover in 10 to 12 weeks, and the Dodgers hoped he would be back for the playoffs.
Last week, manager Dave Roberts said Buehler was having pain while playing wrestling, forcing him to be arrested.
“I don’t know when is the time to come back,” Roberts said. “I think there’s a sense of relief for Walker and a sense that at least we have a plan of action.”
In addition to having the ulnar collateral ligament replaced, Buehler had his flexor tendon repaired.
“The most important news today is that everything went as smoothly as possible,” said Friedman, who texted Buehler in the morning.
“His maturity and the way he internalized it all was extremely impressive,” Friedman said. “It’s easy to be frustrated, it’s easy to be angry, but that wasn’t his mindset at all. It was much more pragmatic and factual, and no matter what, he was going to attack her and do whatever he could to get back as soon as possible.
Buehler underwent his first Tommy John surgery shortly after being drafted by the Dodgers in the first round in June 2015. He made his professional baseball debut the following August.
He was a key contributor to the Dodgers’ 2020 World Series championship, their first since 1988. He was considered the heir apparent to veteran ace Clayton Kershaw’s team.
Buehler has a career ERA of 3.02.
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