Having already lost Brandon McCarthy to Tommy John surgery, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting rotation took another hit in May when Hyun-Jin Ryu underwent season-ending surgery to repair the torn labrum in his left shoulder.
The procedure brought an end to nearly three months of uncertainty and questions as to whether the left-hander would eventually take the mound during the 2015 season.
Ryu missed his first scheduled start due to back spasms, and received an anti-inflammatory injection in his left shoulder soon after his second Cactus League start.
He managed to make just two starts during Cactus League play and began the season on the disabled list, which with the aforementioned surgery, he was never reinstated from.
Just shy of seven months removed from his operation, Ryu said he expects to be ready by Spring Training, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“I have no reason to believe I won’t be ready for Spring Training,” Ryu said.
“Other than throwing off a mound and going all out, I pretty much can do everything I want to do. I’m on a great program and everything is going great. No discomfort, absolutely nothing.”
Scott Boras, Ryu’s agent, said last month his client was throwing at 90 feet without issue. The South Korean native has since increased that distance, though is still being brought along slowly by the medical staff:
Ryu said he is playing catch up to 120 feet, restricted only by athletic trainers who want Ryu ready in February, not December. “I feel so good, I feel I could do it stronger, but I trust the trainers and medical staff with what they tell me to do,” he said. “I’m sure in time, I will get back on the mound.”
Shoulder trouble is something Ryu has dealt with since his rookie season with the Dodgers in 2013. In 2014, he twice was saddled by shoulder tenderness.
When addressing his May surgery, Ryu revealed the Dodgers were aware of the labrum tear when they signed him to a six-year contract in December 2012. An MRI commissioned prior to Ryu’s signing revealed the tear that was the root of his sporadic shoulder issues.
Ryu nonetheless managed to pitched well as the Dodgers’ No. 3 starter, going a combined 28-15 with a 3.17, 2.97 FIP and 1.19 WHIP, making 30 starts in 2013 and 26 in 2014.