Hyun-jin Ryu says he's pain-free and that's great news for the Dodgers
Ryu missed all of 2015 and pitched only 4 2/3 innings last year due to arm issues
The Dodgers recently dealt highly-touted pitching prospect Jose De Leon to the Rays for possibly only one year of second baseman Logan Forsythe. They had a hole at second and can afford to deal pitching because they such immense depth there.
On the latter front, left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu hasn't really been available the past two years, but says he's ready for a return.
"Right now, I'd say I am in better shape than I normally would be at the start of spring training," Ryu told reporters at Incheon International Airport. "I threw four bullpen sessions while training in Japan. I have no pain at the moment."
Ryu missed all of the 2015 season, after shoulder woes followed him from the spring and into May. He then had season-ending surgery and wasn't able to return until July of last season. He made one start and then was sidelined the rest of the way with lingering shoulder issues. He had surgery again in September, but now he says he's back.
Ryu, 29, was valuable to the Dodgers in the first two years of his career. In 2013-14, he was 28-15 with a 3.17 ERA (111 ERA+), 1.20 WHIP and 293 strikeouts in 344 innings. He also posted a 2.81 ERA in three postseason starts.
He has two years and roughly $15.667 million left on his original six-year deal with the Dodgers before hitting free agency.
Then again, Ryu might not even be able to earn a regular post in the rotation this season. Julio Urias will be there eventually even after a delayed start and saddled with an inning limit. There is, of course, All-World ace Clayton Kershaw along with Rich Hill atop the rotation. Kenta Maeda is surely in the mix. Then we have veterans Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy. Lefty Alex Wood should be back while lesser-experienced pitchers like Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart are also options.
A healthy Ryu probably competes for the No. 5 job, but by no means is he a sure thing.
Boy, is that some pretty stellar rotation depth. It's one of the reasons many will be predicting big things for the Dodgers in 2017.
Hat-tip: MLB Trade Rumors
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