After two years of being away from major league baseball, 29-year old Hyun-Jin Ryu returned to the fields of dreams to see if his dream of a comeback with the Dodgers could be realized.
Ryu earned his shot as he worked and willed himself back on the Dodgers’ starting rotation. He began his 2017 with a private, pre-spring training camp on the island of Okinawa, with Jang-Min Jae, one of his best friends from his days back in the Korean Baseball Organization.
Ryu entered the Dodgers’ camp in Camelback Ranch feeling healthy and confident, but things didn’t start out rosy. His first bullpen session of the spring left many disappointed and worried, as his fastball barely topped 86 mph.
The stage was set for a battle between Scott Kazmir and Ryu for a starting spot. As the spring played out, Ryu got stronger, and he gained speed and control of his pitches. Kazmir’s body eventually broke down, and Ryu rightfully earned a spot in the rotation.
The Korean southpaw took the ball for his first 2017 start this afternoon in Coors Field. Much like the spring, things started off a bit bumpy, but he got control of his curveball and steadily began getting Rockies out.
He surrendered one run in the first, and had a long ball go fair by inches for a home run in the fifth. Besides that, he pitched very well for a man on the mound seeking a win for the first time in over 950 days. Ryu went 4 2/3 innings with five strike outs, six hits and one walk. Ryu has nothing to be ashamed of, and plenty to feel good about tonight.
On the flip side of the news for the Dodgers’ starting rotation, Rich Hill was placed on the 10 day disabled list because of, you guessed it, a blister – again.
Blisters have been Hill’s kryptonite for the past couple of seasons, and here we go again. Hill is nails on the mound, but he’s worthless when that $36 million blister flares up. I doubt this will be a ten-day stoppage, but I hope I’m wrong about that.