Walker Buehler knows how much hard work is in front of him as his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates prepare for the 2023 Major League Baseball season. He is going through his second major rehab following elbow surgery last August. The initial estimates did not have him returning until the 2024 season.

However, the Dodgers pitcher is holding out some hope that he will be able to return to the mound before the end of this season.

“It’s hard to watch guys get ready to go out for a season and hunt for the World Series. But having (a) percentage of expectation to pitch at the end of the year makes this a lot better,” Buehler said.

Buehler is scheduled to begin a throwing program next week. He understands that there will be multiple checkpoints as he attempts to regain full health and the ability to return to a big-league pitching mound. Buehler is optimistic that he will be able to do that sooner rather than later.

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He went through his first Tommy John procedure in 2015 and he was back on the mound a year later.

“I rehabbed in 12 months to the day the first time, and in talking to Dr. Neal ElAttrache and kind of what actually was going on in my elbow, I don’t think it’s unrealistic,” Buehler said.

Walker Buehler has been one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball, and if he was able to return to the Dodgers in August, he could be in a position to serve as an X-factor in the postseason.