After undergoing elbow ligament reconstruction surgery (Tommy John surgery) in June of last year, Ryu Hyun-jin (36, Toronto) was initially concerned that his career in Toronto might be over. In fact, Ryu’s contract runs through 2023, and the maximum rehabilitation time for Tommy John surgery is one year and six months.
Furthermore, Ryu had already undergone Tommy John surgery in high school and shoulder surgery in 2015. He was also a veteran in his mid-30s. With his medical history and age, there was a lot of negativity that his rehabilitation would take longer than other players. But Ryu’s indomitable spirit kept him on track, and he returned just when Toronto needed him most.
The Jays, who are in the thick of the American League wild-card race this year, faced a grueling schedule starting on July 29 against the Los Angeles Angels, with a 17-game series against the Chicago Cubs on August 14. If they didn’t survive this schedule, their season could be in jeopardy. It was imperative that the players stayed healthy, especially the starters who had to work so hard.
The Toronto bench used Ryu to create a temporary “six-man rotation” during this 17-game stretch. It gave the existing starters an extra day of rest. They responded well. Kevin Gausman, who has been the team’s ace this year, welcomed the extra rest, saying, “He’s still coming back at the right time.”
Ryu had an emotional return to the majors on April 2 in Baltimore (five innings, four runs), and then pitched even better on April 8 in Cleveland. He didn’t face a hit through four innings. Although he took an unfortunate early exit after being hit in the right knee by a hard hit ball two batters into the fourth inning, his pitches were positive. Manager John Schneider was full of praise, and Ryu himself was pleased with several things, including his changeup.
Ryu’s knee has been cleared, and he’ll start at home against the Cubs on Thursday. It’s a scheduled rotation. A precautionary X-ray showed no problems. He will pitch out of the bullpen on Wednesday, and if he is deemed to have no problems, he will be confirmed for the 14th. “The swelling has gone down a lot,” Schneider told the local media, suggesting that there shouldn’t be any major problems. 안전놀이터
This game is very important for Ryu. Given Toronto’s schedule, it’s likely that they’ll return to their traditional five-man starting rotation after this game. The Jays will finish a 17-game road trip in 14 days, with off days on the 15th, 17th, and 22nd. That’s only five games in eight days. A six-man rotation would be a waste of roster space. The six-man rotation was a stopgap measure in the first place.