The right-hander said he’ll play an easy ball game on Monday, his first shot since he went down with an injury and then had surgery to remove an unrelated bone spur in his elbow – in June.
“[It will be] as light as a catch can be,” Buhler said with a laugh. “Part of me felt like six weeks went by really fast. Part of me feels like it’s going on forever.”
2.5 months before the end of the regular season the clock is really ticking.
Right now, Buhler is on track to return to action in mid to late September, which the team hopes will give him enough time to fully stretch and be ready to take on a normal workload for their likely postseason performance.
“The last thing I want to do is go two innings in 40 pitches and get out of the game,” Buhler said. “I don’t want to be a starting pitcher if I can’t be a starting pitcher. So let’s see how it goes. But I think there’s some kind of window, there’s an opportunity for that, if things go really well.”
However, even the slightest setback could force Buhler and Dodgers make some decisions about its use in October.
On Friday, Buhler indicated that if he is not fully qualified for the playoffs, he would be open to playing roles other than the traditional starting line-up.
“If something goes wrong and I become the guy who helps us get to the playoffs, I will be him,” Buhler said. “I think that would be fun too. I don’t think it’s the biggest disappointment in the world.”
He added: “Look at it from a bird’s eye view and I want to be healthy and contribute for many years to come. And this year is obviously the most important. So I will do everything in my power to come back and contribute as much as possible.”
Buehler doesn’t believe the Dodgers’ chances for a title depend solely on his shoulders or elbows, noting that he’s just one of several other pitchers recovering from injury, along with Dustin May, Danny Duffy and Andrew Heaney. Buhler is even waiting to see if Bobby Miller can make it to the big leagues by then.
“We have a lot of guys who are likely to be in the playoffs,” he said.
However, no one in the organization has the proven talent and track record that Buhler has, even after starting this season with a 4.02 ERA in 12 starts before suffering an injury.
“Each week goes by and we decide where Walker’s usefulness lies,” he said. manager Dave Roberts said. “But there is hope that he will be ready and continue to ramp up for the postseason.”
Monday’s fishing session will be his biggest move yet.
“Part of me wants to kind of try not to feel anything,” Buhler said. “But I know myself. I think that quitting to feel healthy and get healthy is a different matter than trying to be perfect and be who I was a year ago or who I was three years ago, anything.
“So I think I just go and quit and try to be athletic for a while and hope that it leads to that feeling that I kind of hunted for.”
Justin Turner seated with a gremlin rib
After leaving the game early on Thursday due to abdominal tension, Justin Turner wasn’t with the Dodgers on Friday.
The third baseman said he was better, and the Dodgers said they didn’t believe he would have to go on the injured list. But Roberts said Turner would be unavailable on Friday and could take another two to three days before he returns to the lineup.
Turner said he first felt some discomfort near his ribs while doing practice swings on deck during his third night on Thursday.
He said the sensation was different from the oblique and intercostal injuries he had experienced in the past and called his current restrictions more of a precautionary measure.
“I call it a little gremlin in my chest,” Turner joked. “I’ll just try to treat him for a day or two and hopefully everything will be fine.”
Brousdar Gratherol (shoulder inflammation) has resumed 90-foot throws, although his return remains unclear… Dustin May (Tommy John surgery) had two innings in a triple-A rehab start in Oklahoma City, hitting 99 mph with his weight .