Dodgers News: Hyun-Jin Ryu Calls Himself ‘Starter At Heart’
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the Los Angeles Dodgers trailing the St. Louis Cardinals by two runs and Kenta Maeda due up fifth in the bottom of the fourth inning, Hyun-Jin Ryu began to warm up in the bullpen. A surprise in and of itself, it answered a question Dodgers manager Dave Roberts faced the past two days.

The Dodgers are largely without a spot for Ryu in their starting rotation as currently constructed. Roberts indicated a role as a reliever was under consideration, but the Dodgers were mindful of the impact it would have on Ryu’s routine.

But an opportunity presented itself after Kenta Maeda went five innings. Making his first relief appearance in the Majors, Ryu converted a four-inning save. He allowed just two hits, issued one walk and recorded two strikeouts.

Despite the success, Roberts reiterated Ryu will not transition to a full-time role out of the bullpen. That falls in line with how the 30-year-old views himself.

“I’m a starter at heart, and I believe I’ll get another opportunity to start,” Ryu said through a translator.

“Today was just a one-time appearance. We will have to see what happens moving forward. I was happy I didn’t give up any runs, that I was able to get the save, and that my team was able to get the win.”

Prior to Thursday, Ryu last pitched out of the bullpen for seven games in 2011 with the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization. Overall, he made 10 relief appearances during his seven-year career with the Eagles.

Ryu this season is 2-5 with 4.28 ERA, 5.23 FIP and 1.50 WHIP over eight games (seven starts).