The “Korean Monster” is finally starting to show up. Ryu Hyun-jin (36, Toronto Blue Jays) has begun to make progress on his comeback, throwing with the team for the first time this season. He’s in the final stages of his rehabilitation, and if all goes well, we could see him pitch again in July.
The Toronto Blue Jays posted a short video of Ryu on their official social networking site on July 23 (KST). They also wrote “Hello friend” in Korean and “Happy to see Ryu” in English.메이저놀이터
This is great news for Korean baseball fans. At the same time, the Toronto organization also greeted Ryu with the word “friend,” indicating that they were happy to see him. This is the first time Ryu has traveled with the team since the start of the season. In addition to Ryu, pitcher Chad Green (32), who is also rehabbing, joined the team.
In the video, Ryu walks through Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, the home of the Tampa Bay Rays. Ryu looks at the camera for a moment before making a “V” with his fingers and smiling brightly. At first glance, Ryu has lost some weight compared to his time in Toronto. It was reminiscent of his days with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Toronto begins a four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays today. The Rays fell to Tampa Bay 4-6, snapping a five-game losing streak. Toronto is now 25-23 on the season and sits in last place in the American League East. Their lead over Tampa Bay in the division has now grown to 9.5 games.
Ryu Hyun-jin. /AFPBBNews=News1
Since joining the major leagues in 2012, Hyun-jin Ryu has appeared in 175 career games, posting a 75-45 record with one save and a 3.27 ERA. After playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Ryu signed a four-year, $80 million contract with Toronto in 2020. In his first season with the organization, he went 5-2 with a 2.69 ERA in 12 games during the shortened Major League Baseball season. In 2021, he went 14-10 with a 4.37 ERA in 31 games.
In 2022, his third season, he appeared in six games, going 2-0 with a 5.67 ERA. Then, in June of that year, he underwent elbow ligament reconstruction (Tommy John surgery), ending his season prematurely. He was unable to throw the ball in pain and eventually decided to go under the knife.
Luckily, the surgery went well. At the time of the surgery, there were local estimates that Ryu would be out for at least a year. Local media outlets such as MLB.com predicted that Ryu could return as early as the second half of the season.
He returned to South Korea briefly in November last year and spent about a month rehabbing before departing for the United States on Dec. 29. It was an early departure considering that he usually trained until February before joining the American spring training camp. Ryu wanted to get back to rehab as soon as possible. “The team wanted me to come in a little earlier, and I thought it would be better to go to a warm place and start training as soon as possible,” Ryu said in his departure interview.
Ryu Hyun-jin speaks to reporters before his departure from the United States at Incheon International Airport Terminal 2 on the morning of Dec. 29, 2022./Photo=News1
Since the start of the season, Ryu has continued his rehabilitation in Dunedin, Florida, where Toronto’s spring training facility is located. Tropicana Field is close to Dunedin. At the time of his departure, Ryu said, “I’m going through the rehabilitation phase according to the schedule set by the surgeon who operated on me. Based on that, I think I’ll be ready after the All-Star break. I’ll probably start playing rehab games in June.”
In the end, judging by the way he accompanied the traveling team, it seems that he will soon be working on pitching in a step-by-step manner. The next steps include bullpen pitches, live pitches, and minor league rehab appearances. Toronto fan site Bluebird Banter reported that “Ryu will be pitching out of the bullpen.” The Toronto coaching staff, including manager John Schneider, will be on hand to watch him pitch. Toronto general manager Ross Atkins said in a local interview on the 16th that “Ryu will be throwing live against hitters next month.”
Fans in South Korea are hoping that Ryu will return healthy. He has bounced back from surgery before. In 2015, he underwent labrum surgery on his shoulder and returned for the 2017 season, and in 2019, he had a phenomenal 14-5 record with a 2.32 ERA (first in the majors).
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