While some of the excitement surrounding Hyun-Jin Ryu’s first start with the Los Angeles Dodgers since October 2014 washed away by the time he was knocked out of the game in the fifth inning on Thursday night, the focus quickly shifted to how the southpaw would respond physically.
Ryu said after his outing the feeling in his throwing shoulder was ‘completely different’ than what he felt after starts he made prior to undergoing surgery to repair the partially torn labrum. He also said there weren’t any issues with the shoulder during his start.
Less than 24 hours later, the reports were positive. “He came out of it well, he was in good spirits today and encouraged,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said prior to Friday’s game.
“Obviously, disappointed with the result but ultimately big-picture, the way he feels right now, there’s just the normal soreness after a start.” With Ryu appearing to be in good health, it shifts the focus back to his velocity, or lack thereof.
He sat in the low 90s for much of the game, then had a noticeable drop off as his workload approached 80 pitches. Neither Roberts, Ryu, or A.J. Ellis expressed much concern over that factor. Ellis argued Ryu already had enough velocity to navigate a Major League lineup.
Nonetheless, Roberts maintained the Dodgers will monitor it moving forward. “As time goes on and he continues to go through his bullpen sessions in between starts, you expect the velocity to hold and it will be the normal decrease of velocity,” the rookie manager said.
“But right now that’s something we have to be mindful of. We have to win games, so when he’s pitching here and the stuff starts to dip, that’s a big red flag for me.” Ryu’s next start will come some point after the All-Star Game.
Roberts said a decision on how to align the starting rotation coming out of the break had yet been made.