Hyun Jin Ryu pitched three innings with the FCL Blue Jays in his first start since undergoing Tommy John surgery
Photo credit:Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis2 months ago
For the first time since June 1, 2022, Hyun Jin Ryu took the mound for a start.
He pitched three innings for the Florida Complex League Blue Jays and allowed one earned run on four hits while striking out five. The boxscore doesn’t show Ryu’s pitch count but the plan was for him to throw upwards of 60 pitches, according to Ethan Diamandas of Sports Illustrated.
Ryu made two starts for the Blue Jays in April last season before going on the Injured List with elbow soreness. He came back in May and made four more starts before it was announced that he would be shut down for the remainder of the season. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery on June 18.
Here we are now, just over one year later, and Ryu’s recovery has gone as well as anybody could have hoped. Given his age and the nature of the surgery, there was reason to believe that Ryu had thrown his final pitch at the Major League level. Now it looks like he’s on track to pitch for the Blue Jays in the second half of the season.
Toronto has a glaring need in their starting rotation. Alek Manoah struggled mightily this season and was sent down to the team’s pitching lab in Dunedin to sort out what was going wrong. Depth arms like Mitch White and Zach Thompson weren’t pitching well enough to fill Manoah’s spot in the rotation so the Blue Jays have been rolling with a bullpen day for a few weeks.
The hope is that they’ll be able to return to a normal, five-man rotation following the All-Star break, which takes place between July 10 and 13. The Blue Jays return from the break with a three-game weekend series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 14 and then have a day off on the following Monday. They could get through one post-break rotation turn with four starters if need be because of the day off but they’ll want that spot filled by the time they take off to play the Seattle Mariners and L.A. Dodgers in late July.
Ryu joined the Blue Jays on a four-year, $80 million deal in December of 2019 and became the first free-agent addition that signalled the team was ready to start competing. It’s difficult to expect that the 36-year-old can return to the Cy Young pitching we saw from him in 2020 and much of 2021, but a healthy Ryu could be a massive depth addition to the Blue Jays down the stretch.
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