LOS ANGELES -- Pitcher Walker Buehler was pain-free while throwing a 25-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday and could return to the Dodgers rotation by next week, manager Dave Roberts indicated.Buehler -- who made three starts unknowingly with a rib microfracture -- is scheduled for another bullpen session on Thursday, then
LOS ANGELES -- Pitcher Walker Buehler was pain-free while throwing a 25-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday and could return to the Dodgers rotation by next week, manager Dave Roberts indicated.
Buehler -- who made three starts unknowingly with a rib microfracture -- is scheduled for another bullpen session on Thursday, then would likely pitch in a Minor League rehab game before being activated by the Dodgers.
"Really good intensity, used the whole mix. I was pretty impressed with the way he was throwing. The ball was coming out really well," said Roberts. "A rehab game makes more sense, but that's certainly not set in stone. We'll have that conversation."
Roberts also said the club is considering using six starters for a brief period when Buehler returns to give the other five an extra day of rest. The Dodgers are in a stretch of 23 games in 24 days leading into the All-Star break.
"I want to get going as fast as possible, but as usual people with a higher pay grade have a longer-term plan and we'll kind of go with that," said Buehler. "There's still some lingering stuff, but it's not sharp. Against Atlanta [on June 8], I couldn't breathe, so that's a pretty good barometer. For a week after that I had trouble getting out of bed and with every-day movements. But now I'm moving pretty good."
Buehler said he doesn't believe he's being slow-tracked to keep his innings in check.
"I think they want me to pitch as soon as I can be healthy and without risking any variation to my delivery. We're all on the same page. Slowing me down is not a negative thing. I'm 23, and sometimes they've got to protect me from myself a little bit."
• Chris Taylor tested his tight left hamstring with some running Tuesday, but Roberts said he wouldn't return to the starting lineup any sooner than Thursday.
"Chris did some running a little bit, but there's still something in there," Roberts said of Taylor, who was injured last Thursday in Chicago and hasn't started since. "We're not over the hump. It's kind of a luxury having him coming off the bench hitting homers and doubles."
As a pinch-hitter, Taylor homered for the decisive run on Monday night and he doubled in two runs Saturday night in New York.
The way the Dodgers are playing it, Taylor gets his treatment as he would if he was on the disabled list but Roberts has his bat for late innings. The risk is that the Dodgers continue to carry a four-man bench, and Taylor essentially makes it 3 1/2 because he can't play defense yet.
Meanwhile, Kiké Hernandez is filling in for Taylor at shortstop and is on a home-run binge.
• Matt Kemp's appeal of a one-game suspension for fighting was heard in a Monday teleconference and he expects to hear a result any day. Kemp was suspended for shoving Texas catcher Robinson Chirinos after a plate collision on June 12.
• Pedro Baez (biceps tendinitis) threw off a mound for the first time at 70 percent, and Roberts said Tony Cingrani (rotator cuff) is likely to do the same on Wednesday.
• Roberts said Caleb Ferguson remains as the long reliever at least until the weekend.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.