Walker Buehler essentially admits he's been butting heads with Dodgers over injury recovery

Cincinnati Reds v Los Angeles Dodgers
Cincinnati Reds v Los Angeles Dodgers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

Walker Buehler made his third start of the season on Saturday against the Reds, going six scoreless innings, only giving up three hits but zero runs while striking out seven in the Dodgers' 4-0 victory over Cincinnati. It was, by far, his best start since he returned from a two-year absence; over his last two, he'd allowed 11 hits and six runs (three of them homers) and only struck out six over 7 1/3 innings.

Buehler's return was complicated and rocky,seemingly filled with disagreements between him and the club. Whenever Buehler touted recovering velocity or professed a desire to get back onto the mound — whether that was during the postseason last year or spring training this year — Dodgers brass was there to push back and profess their belief that he just wasn't ready, and they had no interest in rushing their former ace despite his own impatience.

However, after his start, Buehler told reporters, "I finally have to start listening to people, not just doing whatever I want all the time" (subscription required), seeming to acknowledge the fact that Buehler and Dodgers management were oftentimes at odds throughout his recovery.

Two Tommy Johns down, Buehler is also already having to make adjustments to his mechanics, which he also seems more amenable to now after a protracted recovery process.

Walker Buehler appeared to own up to disagreements about recovery with Dodgers brass

Buehler has already started making adjustments to his mechanics under the recommendation of Dodgers pitching coaches Mark Prior (who notably pushed back on Buehler's insistence of readiness during spring training and said he believed Buehler had never finished his initial rehab assignment), Connor McGuiness, and Josh Bard, who helped Buehler adjust his position on the mound by six inches from its usual place.

That bullpen session reportedly didn't go over very well, but Buehler dutifully shifted a bit during his Saturday start, and then proceeded to pitch six scoreless innings. He'll also have to adjust to the Dodgers' insistence on giving longer rest times to their starters; Tyler Glasnow, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and Co. have been getting six or seven days between starts while the Dodgers employ the bullpen to supplement in between.

It was incredibly reassuring to see Buehler get back on the mound and look dominant again, and it's even more reassuring that he now seems much more willing to listen and maybe pump the breaks a little when necessary.