The 2013 season was overwhelmingly successful for Los Angeles Dodgers rookie left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu. Signed to a six-year, $36 million contract, the 26-year-old left-hander impressed in his first season, finishing fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting and winning a key playoff game against the Cardinals.
During the off-season, Ryu returned to his native South Korea as he was spotted doing several commercials and singing original songs for charity. However, Ryu started training earlier this season and as he was ready to depart for LA, had an interview with the local media. When asked about his goals for 2014, they were simple via Yoo Jee-ho of YonhapNew.co:
My goal is to be as consistent as I was last year. I want to stay in the rotation from start to finish and stay healthy. I hope to begin the season on a good note right from the first game. Hopefully, that will help me win a lot of games. As long as I can stay healthy, I don’t think my stats will change that drastically.
The South Korean star said he started training two weeks earlier than last season since he admitted to feeling “sluggish” at the start of Spring Training last season. As of now, the Dodgers rotation consists of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Ryu, Dan Haren and Josh Beckett with the prospects of Masahiro Tanaka possibly joining that group.
When asked about the possibility of adding the 25-year-old Japanese right-hander to the rotation, he didn’t seem fazed by the idea:
Whenever such a tremendous pitcher can come to our club, it will be a huge plus. I don’t think too much about my turn in the rotation. Last year, I wanted to be the No. 5 starter but began the season as the No. 2 guy because of injuries. It’s not that important to me.
As has been the case with most Dodgers during the off-season, the pain of being just two games away from a World Series appearance fueled their drive to train even harder this winter. Hopefully the two week head start will prove worthwhile as the Dodgers are counting on Ryu to come back even stronger in 2014.
Here’s a great photo and caption of Ryu leaving the airport via Dan of MyKBO:
Like Adrian Gonzalez, it appears Ryu Hyun-jin is also a fan of Mickey Mouse pic.twitter.com/xnFmo15Ey7
— Dan (@MyKBO) January 10, 2014
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