Ryu Hyun-jin (36, Toronto Blue Jays) is unlikely to be on a big league mound in July. The Toronto organization seems to want to give him a little more time to return.
“Toronto manager John Schneider informed Ryu today that he will not pitch in this weekend’s series against the Los Angeles Angels,” Canadian outlet Sportsnet reported on July 25.
U.S. and Canadian media had expected Ryu to start the first game of the series against the Angels at home on the 29th and face off against Shohei Ohtani, but this was ultimately not the case. “Instead of pitching against the Angels, Ryu will make one final check in a simulation game,” Schneider explained.
Ryu has been rehabbing for 13 months after undergoing Tommy John surgery last June. In his last four minor league rehabilitation appearances, Ryu has proven his class, and it was expected that he would join the team when Toronto hosts the Los Angeles Dodgers for a three-game series from April 25-27 to prepare for his big league return.
His rehab start was so good that the American media called it “fantastic.” In his last start, on April 22, Ryu pitched in a Triple-A game against the Syracuse Mets, allowing two runs on three hits (two homers) in six innings with one walk and five strikeouts in a 4-2 win. With six innings and 85 pitches, he met Schneider’s “five innings, 80+ pitches” requirement for his return to the big leagues.
He also erased any restraint concerns. Schneider and the U.S. media had consistently said that Ryu needed to be able to throw in the 90-mile-per-hour range to be viable on a big league mound, and he did just that, with a fastball that topped out at 90.8 mph (146 km/h) and averaged 88.4 mph (142.2 km/h) in his 22 appearances.
His command was still there. In particular, Ryu’s main weapon, his changeup, wowed the U.S. broadcasters in every outing. Whenever Ryu struck out a batter with his changeup, the broadcasters would say, “It was a brilliant changeup. He froze them with his changeup. He dropped it in the best place to throw a changeup.” It was a pitch that proved that the former Cy Young Award finalist still has class.
Nevertheless, Toronto and Schneider seem to be taking a very cautious approach to Ryu’s return. On the 29th after Ohtani’s start, they will send out Kevin Gausman, who recently returned from a minor injury. There are no reports of anything particularly wrong with Ryu’s body, but with over a year off and Gaussman back in the lineup, there’s no need to rush him back. 꽁머니
Ryu’s 30-day major league rehab assignment ends on August 4. Major League Baseball rules do not allow a player to make more than 30 minor league rehab appearances. This means that even if Toronto hesitates, Ryu will be on the big league roster in early August.
‘Ryu is expected to be in near-perfect shape to join the starting rotation in early August (when his rehab stint ends),’ Sportsnet reported. Toronto begins a grueling 17-game series against the Angels this weekend, and Ryu is expected to make at least one start during that stretch.