“Hyun-Jin Ryu is washed up.”
“He hasn’t pitched in two years. He’s done.”
The naysayers have been at it all winter. The optimists have kept their fingers crossed and held on to the hope that the big Korean southpaw would bounce back from an injury, surgery and rebab-filled, past two seasons and earn his spot back in the Dodgers’ starting rotation.
Ryu’s chance has finally arrived. He came into camp with no restrictions and everyone holding their breath. He threw his first bullpen session of the spring today, and it seems we all may have to continue holding our collective breath until the next time he steps on the training field.
Ryu was never known for a blazing fastball, but his pitches today topped out at 84-86 mph. I suppose it’s a good start, but that’s just not going to cut it if he expects to reestablish himself as a starting pitcher in a rotation that already has plenty of arms vying for a limited number of spots.
Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill will grab the top three spots. After that the depth chart is, while not exactly deep with fireballers, stacked with numbers. Alex Wood, Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy are sitting in the wings, and the young phenom Julio Urias, is sure to grab his share of innings in 2017.
Today’s below 90-mph bullpen didn’t wow the Dodgers, but it’s the first week of Spring Training, and there’s some truth in the notion that Ryu may have been overly cautious today, and we’ll see much more as the weeks unfold.
I wonder if Ryu has exhaled yet.