Manager Dave Roberts says he expects Ryu to pitch in games later this spring, but there is no definitive schedule, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports.
Ryu has been hampered by injuries for the past two seasons, including an elbow ailment that sidelined his 2016 campaign. GM Farhan Zaidi said this offseason that if the left-hander was healthy he would be in the rotation and, so far, this has been the case. Ryu's fastball has reached the mid-80s during his bullpen sessions this spring, but it's too early to make assumptions without a timetable. Depending on how he progresses, his first game action could come in minor league games.
Ryu was throwing in the 84-86 mph range during his last bullpen session, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports.
While a mid-80s fastball isn't going to get anyone excited for Ryu's prospects this season, we have to remember that there could be room for growth as spring training carries on. Most pitchers haven't built up enough strength in their arms after a lengthy offseason, let alone a player who has missed the majority of the last two seasons dealing with shoulder and elbow injuries. The key for Ryu this spring will be to build up his velocity back into the 89-90 mph range (if possible) and continue to pitch pain-free. He is still just 29 years old and two years removed from two low-three ERA seasons, so a bounce-back season is not out of the question.
Ryu is pain-free and ready to take the mound again, Yonhap News Agency reports.
Injuries have held Ryu back after he posted strong seasons in 2013 and 2014, as he has made just one start in the majors over the last two seasons. Dodgers General Manager Farhan Zaidi has told the Orange County Register in November that Ryu will begin the season in the starting rotation if he's healthy. If he's able to stay healthy and able to reach his 2014 form once again, the 29-year-old southpaw could be an asset for the Dodgers once again in 2017.
Ryu is expected to be 100 percent entering spring training. The lefty missed all of 2015 after undergoing shoulder surgery and made just one start in 2016 before the elbow flared up. Zaidi admitted that the Dodgers can't realistically plan to have Ryu as a mid-rotation anchor next season, but said that "if he's healthy, he's going to be in our rotation" to begin the 2017 campaign. Zaidi suggested Ryu wasn't especially close to his 2014 form when he returned in 2016, saying "he never got quite back to that level in terms of quality of stuff and velocity."
Ryu underwent an elbow debridement procedure Wednesday, David Vassegh of 570 AM Los Angeles reports.
With the surgery to remove damaged tissue from the elbow joint successful, Ryu can now cast an eye toward 2017. The Dodgers do expect Ryu to be ready to go for the start of next season, although that was the expectation last year too after the lefty underwent shoulder surgery. Ryu ended up making just one start for the Dodgers in 2016.
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