Hyun-Jin Ryu’s Spring Training got off to a slow start as he fell behind other pitchers due to mid-back tightness that kept him out of workouts. Ryu eventually played catch, and threw a bullpen session and live batting practice before returning to the mound March 12.
Ryu’s first start of the spring came against the San Diego Padres and former teammate Matt Kemp. On top of being the first Dodger pitcher to face Kemp since the December trade, the setting was unique as it was part of Will Ferrell making the rounds to play 10 positions in five Cactus League games, and it was the first under lights for the Dodgers.
The even-keeled left-hander went about his business as one would expect, throwing 30 pitches in two perfect innings. Ryu was back on the mound Tuesday, though wasn’t nearly as efficient — allowing two earned runs on three hits in three innings of work.
While he had mixed results, Ryu provided positive news regarding his back, via Eric Stephen of True Blue LA:
I’m not having any issues with the back anymore,” Ryu said after his outing. “This time was three innings. Hopefully next time I’ll be able to go four.”
As for his apparent drop in velocity Monday, Ryu wasn’t concerned by it:
I don’t think there was any reason,” Ryu said. “During the regular season my velocity picks up and drops, so I’m not really worried about that.”
Suffice to say, health will play a key role in the Dodgers’ success this season. That particularly holds true for Ryu, who is considered one-third of the club’s three-headed monster that leads the pitching staff.
With Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy anchoring the backend of the rotation, the Dodgers can ill-afford to lose one of their frontline starters for any prolonged period.
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