While the Los Angeles Dodgers prepare for Opening Day, one of their starting pitchers will likely be out once the season starts.
Hyun-Jin Ryu was shut down last week and given an injection in his shoulder after experiencing tightness. The Dodgers projected third starter is set to miss the beginning of the season despite his efforts to be in better shape and toss 200 innings in 2015. Ryu missed a few days at the beginning of camp with a lower back issue and now is out with the same issue that sidelined him twice last season. After flying back to Los Angeles to meet with Dr. Neal ElAttrache, Ryu underwent an MRI.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, there is a bit of good news for the 27-year-old:
No structural damage was seen with Ryu shoulder. Doctor prescribes a couple/few weeks rest. Obviously still concerning.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) March 24, 2015
The lack of structural damage puts surgery off the table, which is a positive in itself. Ryu will still be out for the start of the season, but could return by May. The Dodgers only need a fifth starting pitcher twice in the initial month, and Don Mattingly mentioned that the team could choose to have a bullpen game at least the first time.
Because of the new front office’s want for depth, the Dodgers are in a better position than in year’s past with potential replacements like Joe Wieland, Dustin McGowan and up until recent injury, Erik Bedard. While the team has been searching for more starting pitching depth all winter, they have the assets to avoid a panic move. While the Cole Hamels rumors will continue to swirl because of Ryu’s injury, don’t expect the Dodgers to seriously interested in a move.
While an injury is never ideal, the Dodgers have the ability to let Ryu take as long as he needs to return.
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