‘Monster’ Ryu Hyun-jin is set to return in July.
MLB.com has an update on Hyun-jin Ryu, who joined the Toronto Blue Jays in Florida two days ago to pitch out of the bullpen for a series against the Tampa Bay Rays. Ryu has been rehabbing in Dunedin, Florida, where the Blue Jays’ spring training camp is located.
On April 24, Ryu threw from the outfield bullpen mound at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The entire Blue Jays pitching staff watched him throw. When he finished, they applauded.
Ryu said it was the most enjoyable moment since he began his rehabilitation after undergoing elbow ligament splicing surgery (Tommy John surgery) last June.
“I wanted to keep in touch with all the players and officials of the club,” Ryu said. “I met the players for the first time since spring training, and it feels really good to see them all, and I think that’s what helped me get reenergized here.”
Ryu is nearing the end of his rehabilitation process. His body proves that he’s put in a tremendous amount of training. He’s lost 20 percent of his body weight.
“I’ve been saying from the beginning that ideally I’d like to come back after the All-Star break and join the team in the second half of the season,” he said through an interpreter. “That’s my goal now, and I’ll plan my schedule accordingly.”
Major League Baseball’s All-Star break runs from July 10-13, which could mean a late-July return with some wiggle room given his optimism about his recovery.
Ryu is the type of pitcher who doesn’t need to push his velocity up to 100 miles per hour. However, he often struggles to regain his feel immediately after returning from Tommy John surgery. His changeup will be a key factor in his successful return because it’s so important. Throwing breaking balls like curveballs and sliders without pain and finding the feel for them is one of the last challenges, as the elbow is strained. But Ryu is well on his way.
“I started throwing curveballs and changeups,” Ryu said. “I need to increase my pitch count and be able to throw my cutter as well. Again, the most important thing is to get in shape to be a starting pitcher.”
Two days earlier, the Toronto Star reported that Ryu was pitching out of the bullpen, saying, “Ryu threw a sharp changeup and curveball out of the bullpen. He hasn’t thrown a cutter yet. Most importantly, he hasn’t felt any elbow pain lately,” and “Ryu is on track to return in the second half of the season.”
Toronto Blue Jays social media capture.
Ryu signed a four-year, $80 million deal with Toronto in December 2019. This is the final year of his contract.
In 2020, a shortened season due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ryu was the team’s No. 1 starter in 12 games, going 5-2 with a 2.69 ERA.
In 2021, he went 14-10 in 169 innings pitched. However, his ERA (4.37) deteriorated noticeably, possibly due to elbow pain, and he went 2-2 with메이저놀이터 a 5.67 ERA in six starts last year before going on the DL on June 19.
The Blue Jays are currently one of only 30 teams in the majors to start the season with only five starting pitchers. Realistically, it’s unlikely to last much longer. When Ryu is ready to return, there will be a role waiting for him.
“He’s fighting a battle against the odds and time, but he’ll get a chance to write his own comeback story in the final year of his contract,” MLB.com predicted.