The 2020 season was a little strange for Walker Buehler. He did not appear in the Dodgers’ first week of games once things kicked off, and that was in part due to his slow ramp-up. Buehler wasn’t a late arrival to camp when the season restarted, but unlike other pitchers, he had not been throwing in preparation.
When asked about it all of last year, Buehler and the Dodgers maintained that it was in his best interests. The uncertainty of the looming season made it difficult for guys to keep throwing without knowing when they needed to be ready to go. That led to Walker throwing less than 90 pitches for his first 4 starts of the season.
But coming into this Spring Training, Buehler says that he is in a much better position in terms of preparation. He spoke with LA media on Saturday morning about being ready and how he was able to change up his timeline from last year.
It was pretty well known I kind of took a break before we came back for Summer Camp last year. Just going through the regular season and playoffs I’ve sort of been able to condense the break that I would normally take. So far, I feel good about where I’m at.
In terms of how far along he feels in his progression just a few days into Spring Training, Buehler said that he is on track. The Dodgers are set to kick off spring games one week from today on February 28th.
I just feel a little bit closer to where I want to be physically and then I think there’s a mental side of that where you’re not as stressed out about going through the stuff you can kind of build up and just feel good where you are and get ready for a season.
Manager Dave Roberts added more context on why Buehler is where he is at this point in spring.
He will be more ready than in springs in the past because he kept throwing throughout the offseason. Walker just felt there were a lot of bullets left out there, left on the table. For him to continue to throw in the winter to keep his arm moving will prepare best for ’21, so he’s done that.
Buehler being ready to go full steam ahead at the start of the season would be huge for the Dodgers. His slow ramp-up took a toll on the starting rotation last season, pushing some guys into the role with David Price opting out. But if he is 100 percent ready to go, this could be the Cy Young type of year that we’ve been waiting for out of Walker.
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