The National League pennant race just had a bit of a shakeup.
The Los Angeles Dodgers announced on Monday that Walker Buehler will not return to the team and instead will undergo season-ending elbow surgery.
The 28-year-old has not pitched since June 10 after battling a flexor tendon strain in his right arm.
Buehler was expected to begin throwing from a mound in a week and that the team would have him back for the postseason. Instead he will undergo surgery, scheduled for Aug. 23.
The Dodgers right-hander had struggled a bit before being shut down, pitching to a 6-3 record and 4.02 ERA, but he had established himself the ace of the staff over the last few seasons.
The team has managed just fine without him, though, in part to a renaissance season from Clayton Kershaw and an All-Star year from Tony Gonsolin.
The Dodgers, who own MLB’s best record at 79-34, are also expected to have hard-throwing right-hander Dustin May back by the end of the week.
Yet, the loss of Buehler still stings, and losing him for the postseason could help open the door for teams like the Mets, Braves or Padres should they meet in October.