Walker Buehler undergoes surgery at the end of the season

MILWAUKEE — The Dodgers have the best record in the Majors. They have their sights set on a 10th consecutive postseason appearance and a second World Series title in three years.

But they will have to try without Walker Buehler, who will undergo elbow surgery at the end of the season, the Dodgers announced Monday. The surgery will be performed on August 23 by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

“It’s definitely a blow,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Monday. “We’re better with Walker at our ball club. But we just can’t help it. I still believe we have enough guys to get through October to avoid runs. But yeah, I mean, we wanted Walker to be a part of this.”

Roberts and the Dodgers gave vague answers when asked repeatedly about the type of surgery Buehler will have next Tuesday. However, the Dodgers manager added that he does not expect it to be Tommy John Surgery. He said he could be wrong if Dr. ElAttrache once the proceedings begin, but that’s initially good news for the Dodgers and right-handers.

What is potentially not good news is how open this injury appears to be.

If the Dodgers had a clear diagnosis, it would be easy to set a reasonable timetable for Buehler’s return. But right now there are many questions and too few answers. Roberts said the Dodgers will have more information after he has the surgery.

“I don’t want to prejudge what it might or might not be,” Roberts said. “I think it’s fair because if we had clarity on what it was before we went in, you’d have a timeline. But right now we’re not doing that. I think we’d all like to have full clarity now. ”

The only clarity the Dodgers have is that Buehler will not be part of their postseason run. Having their opening day starter back for the stretch run was always the goal after Buehler suffered a grade 2 flexor load on June 10.

Buehler has played catch countless times in recent weeks. During his progression, he was extended to 120 feet, but constant discomfort during the Dodgers’ final homestand forced the right-hander to shut things down. Then he underwent an MRI, which showed that his season was over.

“We took the opportunity to try and take time off, start a projection to get him back this year,” Roberts said. “When he went through, we couldn’t get over the bump. We tried and now we have to go in.”

As Roberts mentioned, officially losing Buehler is a big blow to the Dodgers, who chose not to trade for a starting pitcher on the Trade Deadline. Part of that thought was that they were hopeful to have a pitcher like Buehler back in the fold.

Without Buehler, the Dodgers will continue to ask Julio Urías and Tony Gonsolin to lead the rotation. Tyler Anderson was also a solid option, making his first All-Star team. Dustin May, who will make his first start of Tommy John Surgery against the Marlins on August 20, could play a bigger role in the long run.

Then there’s Clayton Kershaw, who is currently on the injured list with a low back injury. Kershaw is expected to recover at some point in the coming weeks, which should give him time to ramp up for the postseason run.

“I spoke to Dustin today and he’s not a savior. I just want him to come out and throw well,” said Roberts. “And when Clayton comes back, he’ll have to do his job. I don’t see it as busy. It’s just more like, we don’t have a man we hoped would be with us.”

Buehler struggled this season while he was healthy, with a 4.02 ERA over 12 starts. Few pitchers in the Majors have had the success that Buehler had when the lights came on in October.

Last October, Buehler was their workhorse, pitching twice at halftime, once in the NL Division Series against the Giants and again in the NLCS against the Braves.

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