Last we heard of Hyun-Jin Ryu, he was headed to Japan to rehab. Now he says he’s ready to go.

Ryu believes he is completely recovered and can be an asset to the Dodgers, according to Jee-ho Yoo of the Yonhap News Agency. He said he wants to start throwing from the mound immediately.

“Right now, I’d say I am in better shape than I normally would be at the start of spring training,” Ryu said.I threw four bullpen sessions while training in Japan. I have no pain at the moment.”

While the Korean lefty’s return would benefit the Dodgers, they’ve moved forward without him. Four rotation spots are set with Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda and Julio Urias. Though as last year taught us, injuries are part of the game. There will be additional starting chances as well: Urias and Maeda may need to be limited. Urias hasn’t thrown a full MLB season, while Maeda’s arm deteriorated down the stretch of 2016.

Ryu has pitched well when healthy, carrying a 3.28 ERA. But he’s started one game in the last two years and cannot avoid physical mishaps. While he said he wants to compete for a starting role, the realistic resolution is for Ryu to adopt a role as a lefty specialist, which will help both parties substantially.

Under contract for two more seasons at $14 million, the Dodgers will hope Ryu isn’t added to the long list of recent sunk costs. For Ryu, he’s at a pivotal point of his career that will determine if he’ll continue playing Major League baseball. The best route to both means is for Ryu to pitch out of the ‘pen as a specialist and occasional long-reliever.

One of our writers believes the Dodgers are in excellent position for the 2017 trade deadline

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Gabe Burns is an award-winning journalist. He serves as a reporter and editor at the DodgersNation news desk. He additionally works as editor-in-chief of The Spectator, Valdosta State University's student paper. Gabe's work has been featured on a number of platforms, including Draft Breakdown and Pro Football Spot. His byline has been cited in media such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. Aside from covering Dodgers baseball, Gabe enjoys watching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Orlando Magic and Tampa Bay Lightning. He can be followed on Twitter at @GabeBurns_DN.

6 Responses

  1. jhigelin

    Is that RYU in the above photo? He looks much slimmer.

    Imagine what it would mean if he were able to pitch like he did two years ago. He was great for us in the playoffs and knows how to get out of jams. Urias also has that in him too. Men get on but they are real good at pitching out of jams. Lots to wait and see what happens…

    Reply
  2. Giantkiller

    Are you for real? A lefty specialist? Long reliever? That’s ridiculous. A 14 million dollar LOOGY? If he’s healthy enough to pitch, he’ll start.

    Reply
  3. JacksonEbner

    While labrum surgery is tough to come back from, not sure why the writer just writes off any chance that he could be a starter again.  Can we at least see him throw in spring training before imposing limiting conclusions on the guy?

    Reply
  4. DavidLyons1

    Giantkiller I agree GK. But, it appears to me that Ryu needs to get on an exercise regimen and lose about 30 lbs. At the same time.. strength training for his weakened Labrum. Those 2 things would make him a more viable candidate for the starting rotation.

    Reply
  5. DavidLyons1

    jhigelin Staying out of those ‘jams’ would be my goal if I were Ryu. He knows how to pitch, but conditioning has been his problem and that needs to be addressed if he is to be an option for The Dodgers..

    Reply
  6. Giantkiller

    But there has been plenty of guys pitch well who are large. David Wells, CC Sabathia (although he hasn’t aged that well). Some guys just have bigger body types.

    Reply

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