MILWAUKEE (AP) — Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler will have season-ending elbow surgery, a setback for the team with the majors’ best record.
The Dodgers announced Monday before the start of their four-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers that Dr. Neal ElAttrache would perform the surgery on Aug. 23.
“It’s certainly a blow,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “We’re better with Walker on our ballclub, but there’s nothing we can do about it. I still believe we have enough guys to prevent runs to get through October, but yeah, we wanted him to be a part of this.
Buehler hadn’t pitched for the last two months due to his injury. He underwent arthroscopic surgery in mid-June to remove bone spurs from his elbow.
“Then as he went through his progression, the pain wouldn’t subside,” Roberts said. “Dr. ElAttrache thought the best course of action was to go back in and get surgery to really figure out what the problem is and fix it. As a result, he’s obviously done for the rest of 2022. And until the surgery happens, we have no timeline for his return.”
Los Angeles also has three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw on the injured list with lower back pain, though he’s expected to return this season.
The Dodgers have hardly suffered in the two stars’ absence. With Tony Gonsolin, Tyler Anderson and Julio Urías anchoring the rotation, LA is 19-4 since the All-Star break — including a 12-game winning streak that was snapped Sunday.
The Dodgers got some good news about their pitching staff Monday. Dustin May, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, is expected to make his season debut Saturday against Miami.
May hasn’t pitched in the majors since May 1, 2021, when he hurt his elbow during an appearance at Milwaukee. He is 6-5 with a 2.93 ERA in 31 career appearances, including 19 starts.
“All the numbers and everything are normal,” May said. “I feel normal. I’m in a good spot right now. That’s all I could ask for.”
Buehler, a two-time All-Star, is 6-3 with a 4.02 ERA in 12 appearances this season. He last pitched June 10 and left that game after four innings when his elbow began bothering him.
“We took a chance to try to take time off, start a progression to get him back this year, but as he started his progression, he just couldn’t get over the hump,” Roberts said. “We took a shot at it, but now we have to go in.”
The Dodgers entered Monday at 79-34, 16 games ahead of San Diego in the NL West. But they’ll have a tough time replacing Buehler as they prepare for a near-certain postseason appearance.
Buehler, 28 has a 46-16 career record with a 3.02 ERA. He went 16-4 with a 2.47 ERA last season and finished fourth in the NL Cy Young Award voting.
“I talked to Dustin today,” Roberts said. “He’s not a savior. I just want him to come out and pitch well. He’s just got to do his job. When Clayton gets back, he’s got to do his job. I don’t look at it as pressure. It’s just more of we don’t have a guy that we hoped would be with us, who’s been a big part of things we’ve done, but there’s nothing we can do about it. Guys have just got to do their jobs.”