What Buehler's rehab progression means for Dodgers

April 19th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Juan Toribio’s Dodgers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

LOS ANGELES -- Over the past 10 days, the Dodgers have been looking for more consistency out of their starting pitching staff.

During that span, the club got a dominant start out of Tyler Glasnow, but also not-so-good ones from Glasnow, James Paxton and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who has yet to pitch into the sixth inning in the Majors.

With the level of talent on the roster, odds are the Dodgers’ rotation will be in good shape moving forward, even with the loss of Bobby Miller for at least a couple of weeks due to right shoulder inflammation. One reason for optimism, of course, is that continues to get closer to a return.

Buehler made his fourth rehab start -- and his third with Triple-A Oklahoma City -- on Thursday, allowing two runs on four hits and four walks over 2 2/3 innings of work. The right-hander threw 68 pitches, but only 34 went for strikes.

In rehab assignments, results aren’t the most important thing. For Buehler and the Dodgers, it’s about the build-up and making sure he’s ready to handle a Major League season once he does make it back to the active roster. The Dodgers will continue to navigate every injury with October on their mind. Buehler, however, will have to show some improved results and command before the club feels comfortable activating him.

There’s been some speculation that Buehler could be ready to return to the Dodgers after his fourth rehab start. That, however, remains unlikely. Buehler will surely make one more rehab start either in Triple-A or Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. After that, the Dodgers will make a decision about his next steps.

Once Buehler returns, he’ll undoubtedly give the rotation a boost. Just this week, the Dodgers deployed a bullpen game on Tuesday and had Landon Knack make his Major League debut on Wednesday. With a nine-game road trip looming, Knack will make at least one more start with the Dodgers.