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Dodgers’ Walker Buehler (four innings) makes first MLB appearance in nearly two years vs. Marlins

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Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler made his first MLB appearance since June 10, 2022, in a start Monday night against the Miami Marlins (GameTracker). Buehler had missed nearly two years undergoing and then recovering from Tommy John surgery — his second such procedure. 

Buehler, 29, completed four innings of work. He surrendered three runs on six hits and no walks. He struck out four batters on 77 pitches (49 strikes). According to Statcast, Buehler averaged 95.9 mph on his four-seam fastball and topped out at 97.6 mph. Back in 2022, Buehler averaged 95.2 mph on his fastball.

Buehler also generated eight swinging strikes on the night. Four of those came on his cutter, two on his four-seamer and two on his knuckle curveball. 

The Dodgers turned to veteran left-hander Ryan Yarbrough to begin the fifth inning. At the time, they held a 6-3 advantage. Credit designated hitter Shohei Ohtani in part for that, as he continued a recent home-run barrage by delivering his fourth blast in the last three days in his first at-bat of the night. Said home run put Ohtani atop Major League Baseball’s home-run leaderboard here in the early part of the year.

Buehler entered Monday with a career 3.02 ERA (101 ERA+) and a 3.41 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 638 innings. His contributions had been worth an estimated 13.5 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference’s calculations. 

He is a two-time All-Star, and was part of the 2020 World Series winning Dodgers squad. Barring an extension, he’ll qualify for free agency at the end of the season for the first time in his career. 

Even with Buehler’s return to the rotation, the Dodgers remain without a few other key starters. To wit, Clayton Kershaw, Bobby Miller, Dustin May, Emmet Sheehan, Kyle Hurt, and Tony Gonsolin are all on the injured list with varying expected dates of return. 

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