Stuck with a losing record, robbed of Hyun-Jin Ryu until after the All-Star break, the Dodgers have installed Walker Buehler as a member of their starting rotation. After contributing six innings in Friday's combined no-hitter over the Padres, Buehler will line up with the other four starters for the foreseeable future, manager Dave Roberts said.
"Obviously, with respect to what happened to Ryu, and the way Walker's pitched, we expect Walker to continue to make starts for us," Roberts said.
Buehler dominated the Padres on Friday. He fanned eight and permitted only three walks. Even so, he was removed after 93 pitches. He will operate under similar restraints for most of the season, Roberts explained. Buehler underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and the organization prizes his health.
Buehler is not expected to throw much more than 150 innings this season. He started the year in the minor leagues, in part so the team could manage his innings restrictions more efficiently. The Dodgers had hoped to elevate Buehler to the majors permanently closer to October, but the circumstances of the season dictated otherwise.
Ryu tore his left groin muscle Tuesday against the Diamondbacks. Rich Hill has been nursing various maladies related to his left middle finger. The team hoped to activate Hill for Sunday's series finale, but concerns about how the humidity at Monterrey Stadium might affect his pitching hand led them to tab Ross Stripling instead.
Given these factors, the Dodgers do not have the luxury of keeping Buehler on ice with triple-A Oklahoma City. The team trails Arizona by seven games in the National League West.
"We have to win baseball games," Roberts said. "The idea of giving him a blow later, figuring it out, is something we have to think through. But right now, we're not approaching that limit. We're just going to continue to stay the course."
Buehler is 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA in his three outings. He has struck out 19 batters in 16 innings.
Seager undergoes surgery, returns home
Corey Seager, the team's two-time All-Star shortstop, underwent surgery to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow Friday. The operation was performed by Dodgers team doctor Neal ElAttrache, who described the procedure as "a success" to team officials, Roberts said.
Seager was expected to return to his home outside Charlotte, N.C., for the immediate future. He will not play for the Dodgers in 2018. The team hopes he can be ready to engage in baseball activities by next spring training. ElAttrache "expects a full recovery" for Seager," Roberts said.