While the Los Angeles Dodgers broke camp on Wednesday, starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu did not join the club in their return to California for the Freeway Series. Instead, Ryu was left at Camelback Ranch to continue his rehab from last May’s surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder.
The process appears to be in an upswing, as Dodgers manager Dave Roberts reported the southpaw ‘felt great’ coming out of a recent bullpen session. Ryu, who missed all of the 2015 season after undergoing surgery, was on track to return by the start of the 2016 season.
However, he experienced soreness in his throwing shoulder during camp, which pushed his expected debut back. Ryu hoped to return by mid-May, though Roberts still doesn’t have a timetable for his return.
“I don’t have a calendar right now and I think you got to kind of map it out, but I think that the throwing program takes time,” Roberts said.
Despite Ryu not making any appearances in Spring Training, Roberts feels optimistic about his progress after the most recent bullpen session and elaborated on what Ryu will focus on next.
“He’s going to throw another [bullpen] on either Sunday or Monday. It’s going to be about 45 pitches where he’s going to throw fastballs, changeups and curveballs. The velocity is starting to ramp up,” Roberts said.
“We were encouraged he felt good after throwing the bullpen session.” From there, the 29 year old will advance to facing live batters. The Dodgers were scrambling to find Ryu’s replacement in the rotation until Saturday when Roberts named Ross Stripling the team’s fifth starter, beating out Carlos Frias.
The Dodgers’ staff underwent a bit of a makeover in the wake of the departure of Zack Greinke and a plethora of injuries to Ryu, Brett Anderson, Mike Bolsinger and Brandon McCarthy, among others. Should Stripling falter, the Dodgers could turn to Frias or delve into their deep farm system.
Julio Urias and Jose De Leon are both exciting young prospects with plenty of upside who could serve as temporary options for the Dodgers despite having up-and-down springs. In addition to Ryu, other starting pitchers who will begin the season on the disabled list are Anderson, Bolsinger, McCarthy and Frankie Montas.