After the Los Angeles Dodgers were eliminated by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2014 National League Division Series, Hyun-Jin Ryu returned to his native South Korea. Upon arriving, Ryu was met by a large contingent of media, where he first expressed a desire to pitch 200 innings in 2015.
Putting substance behind words, Ryu began training in Arizona one month before Dodgers pitchers and catchers opened camp. The extra work was quickly washed away as Ryu battled mid-back tightness less than one week into Spring Training and later shoulder inflammation.
The latter led to Ryu receiving an injection in his left shoulder that only momentarily mitigated the situation. An MRI on his left shoulder revealed there wasn’t any structural damage but he would remain sidelined for multiple weeks.
With the Dodgers set to open their 2015 season Monday, manager Don Mattingly said it will also coincide with Ryu beginning his throwing program, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
Ryu begins throwing Monday.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) April 4, 2015
Ryu twice suffered from similar inflammation in his left shoulder last season, with the second time coming in the final month of the regular season. In both instances, he missed three weeks before returning to the mound.
With the way Dodgers’ schedule sets up, they aren’t in need of a fifth starter until April 13 or 14, and again on April 25. Manager Don Mattingly indicated he may rely on a bullpen game in lieu of a fifth starter the first time that spot in the rotation comes up.
Assuming Ryu doesn’t suffer any setbacks in his recovery, it’s conceivable he could return before the end of April. However, as they did last season, the Dodgers are likely to progress cautiously with Ryu, mindful of the fact he’s much more valuable down the stretch of the season as opposed to the first month.
Scott Van Slyke Discusses Organic Diet