Dodgers ace Buehler to be shut down for 6-8 weeks with elbow strain

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The Los Angeles Dodgers have a roster filled with All-Stars, but they will be down a big one for the foreseeable future.

Right-hander Walker Buehler will be shut down for six to eight weeks after he was diagnosed with a flexor strain in his right arm.

An MRI revealed the strain on Saturday, and he won’t be allowed to throw for six to eight weeks. Even if Buehler can start throwing in six weeks, he would have to build up arm strength and throw bullpens and batting practice before a likely minor-league assignment.

While the team expects the two-time All-Star to pitch again this season, the earliest Buehler could return would be late August or early September, with this recent setback coinciding with Clayton Kershaw's return from the injured list.

''He's our opening day starter, so to lose him in any capacity is a blow,'' manager Dave Roberts said. ''Hopefully, we'll get him back sooner than later.''

Buehler, who had Tommy John surgery soon after being drafted in 2015, hasn’t been as effective this season, going 6-3 with a 4.02 ERA in 12 starts.

He went 16-4 with a 2.47 ERA in 33 starts last season and finished fourth in the NL Cy Young Award voting.

''When you lose one of the best pitchers in the game, it's a big blow to anybody,'' Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman said of Buehler's absence.

Buehler was forced to leave Friday night’s start at San Francisco after four innings and 70 pitches with elbow trouble. After the game, Buehler said he's dealt with occasional soreness in his elbow in recent years, and he expressed concern.

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