Hyun-Jin Ryu on Pace to Return by Spring Training


Fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers finally received a bit of good news on Friday when starting pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu publicly revealed the progress regarding his recovery from last spring’s shoulder surgery.

Alongside teammate Justin Turner, several Dodgers legends, and members of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, Ryu was at Dodger Stadium hosting 300 pre-selected schoolchildren at the annual Children’s Holiday Party.

Dodgers reporter Ken Gurnick of MLB.com first reported the news Friday evening.

“Other than throwing off a mound and going all out, I pretty much can do everything I want to do. I’m on a great program and everything is going great. No discomfort, absolutely nothing,” Ryu explained.

“I have no reason to believe I won’t be ready for Spring Training.”

Although the Dodgers’ medical staff and trainers are monitoring Ryu’s progress closely, the news comes as a bit of relief to many impatient fans who see a very sizable void in the starting rotation.

“My personal goal is to be in the rotation Opening Day until the season ends,” Ryu said.

Despite knowing that his initial physical before the 2013 season revealed a torn labrum in his left shoulder, Ryu pitched with the injury for two seasons and went 28-15 with a combined 3.17 ERA.

His best year was his rookie campaign in 2013, when he hurled 192 innings in 30 games, posted a 14-7 record (including one shutout) and a 3.00 ERA — numbers certainly worthy of a #2 rotation slot.

In light of Ryu’s progress, Dodgers’ President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman considers Ryu a “wild card” in terms of being ready for Opening Day.

Even with Ryu healthy, the Dodgers still need to add rotation depth, unless a solid and dependable option emerges from the farm  — most specifically Jose De Leon or Julio Urias.

The Dodgers have also been linked to trade rumors involving the Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays, as well as talks with free agent starters Mike Leake and Scott Kazmir.

Perhaps the best option of any is Japanese righty Kenta Maeda, who was posted by the Hiroshima Carp on December 10, and has a 30-day window to complete a contract agreement.

Regardless of what the Dodgers decide to strengthen and deepen the starting rotation, a healthy Ryu to begin the season would be very much welcomed by the fans, the players, and management alike.

(Photo Credit: isportsweb.com)

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