After undergoing season-ending surgery in 2015 to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, Hyun-Jin Ryu essentially lost another year to injury. He managed to make one start in July, before landing back on the disabled list with left elbow tendinitis.
Ryu allowed six runs on eight hits over 4.2 innings, and immediately after the start was encouraged by not feeling the same shoulder pain he had in previous seasons. Although the Dodgers transferred Ryu to the 60-day DL on Aug. 1, he remained hopeful to still contribute in 2016.
That was dashed when the 29-year-old underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow in late September. “It’s going pretty well,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said this week of Ryu’s recovery.
“Just checking in on him, it sounds like the arrow is pointing up. He’s been working extremely hard the last couple of weeks. He wants to get back out there every fifth day to help us win games (in 2017).”
Since a strong rookie campaign in 2014, Ryu has made just one start over the past two seasons. Los Angeles is optimistic the southpaw will recover in time for next season, though the same was said after 2015.
“Any time a player has surgery you have an expected time that they’re back, but each case is so different. Some guys come back ahead of schedule, some take a little longer,” Friedman said.
“We focus more on, is a guy working hard, is he putting himself in the best position to come back as quickly as he can, that’s what we assess. Ryu did everything he could to get back and try to help this team.”
The Dodgers’ well-documented injury issues this season involved the loss of several pitchers. At one point four rookie pitchers started in consecutive games. In total, the Dodgers set a Major League record with 28 different players placed on the DL.
Starting pitching figures to again be a focal point next season. Assuming Ryu is available come Opening Day, he figures to be part of a Dodgers’ rotation that also includes Clayton Kershaw, Scott Kazmir, Kenta Maeda and Brandon McCarthy.
Since signing with the Dodgers out of South Korea, Ryu is 28-17 with a 3.28 ERA, 3.00 FIP and 1.21 WHIP.