‘Slimmed-down’ Ryu Hyun-jin finally throws his first bullpen pitch! “I missed the mound the most,” says manager

He’s lost a ton of weight. Ryu Hyun-jin (36, Toronto Blue Jays) finally took the mound he’d been missing. He pitched out of the bullpen for the first time since undergoing surgery.

According to Toronto media outlets Toronto Star and Sportsnet, Ryu took the mound in the bullpen on the outfield side of Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Thursday (June 24). Along with Ryu, Chad Green (32), who is also rehabbing, threw side-by-side bullpen pitches to check his condition. Fellow pitchers and coaches, including Chris Bassett and Kevin Gausman, also observed their pitches.

“They looked good,토토사이트” Toronto manager John Schneider said after watching Ryu and Chad Green pitch out of the bullpen. “Ryu and Green are both expected back this season,” Sportsnet reported.

The Toronto Star highlighted Ryu’s news on the same day. “Can you remember the last time we saw Ryu on the mound?” the publication asked, “It was June 1, 2022 (local time). At the time, Ryu gave up three runs on five hits against the Chicago White Sox,” the outlet explained.

“He eventually disappeared after undergoing elbow ligament reconstruction surgery (Tommy John surgery), leaving him with a 5.67 ERA. It was his second major surgery after undergoing labral surgery on his left shoulder in 2015. This was the final year of his contract with Toronto, and at the age of 35, many thought it would be difficult for him to pitch in Toronto again.”

The Toronto Star wrote, “Ryu is still needed in Toronto. He still needs to be a big league pitcher at some point this season. If everything goes according to plan and schedule, he can help balance the team.” Toronto is 26-23 on the season, tied with the Boston Red Sox (26-23) at the bottom of the American League East. The return of the experienced Hyun-jin Ryu will certainly add to the team’s strength.

Hyun-jin Ryu smiles at Tropicana Field. /Photo: Toronto Blue Jays official social media
“Just throwing on the mound is what I missed the most,” Ryu said through an interpreter to local reporters after his bullpen outing, according to reports.

“I think I had the most fun throwing the ball with my teammates as spectators,” he joked, before expressing his gratitude by saying, “It felt really good to see them, and it helped me reenergize myself from where I am now.” Ryu threw lightly on the day, working on his curveball and changeup. His cutter is still in the works. He reportedly felt no pain afterward.

According to a video released by the team, Ryu appeared to have lost a lot of weight. The Toronto Star reported that “Ryu looked quite lean, the effects of a work-out regimen of running and weight-lifting that he devoted to during his rehabilitation.” “I really wanted to make any changes in my appearance,” Ryu said, adding, “My goal now is to be able to be a part of the team in the second half of the season.” In mid-July, after the All-Star break (July 11-14), Ryu vowed to return to the big league mound healthy.

The Toronto Blue Jays announced on July 23 that Hyun-jin Ryu accompanied the away team for the first time this season. /Photo=Toronto Blue Jays Official SNS
Since reaching the major leagues in 2012, Ryu has appeared in 175 games in the big leagues, compiling a 75-45 record with one save and a 3.27 ERA.

After a steady career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Ryu signed a four-year, $80 million (KRW 10.52 billion) contract with Toronto in 2020. In 2020, his first year with the organization, he went 5-2 with a 2.69 ERA in 12 games. At the time, Major League Baseball was playing a shortened season due to COVID-19. In 2021, he went 14-10 with a 4.37 ERA in 31 games. In 2022, he appeared in six games, going 2-0 with a 5.67 ERA before his season was cut short in June after undergoing elbow ligament reconstruction surgery. After the surgery, local expectations were that Ryu would be out for at least a year.

Despite undergoing major surgery at such a young age, Ryu went through the rehabilitation process smoothly. He returned to South Korea briefly in November last year. However, he didn’t stay long and left for the United States on December 29. He wanted to focus on his rehabilitation training as soon as possible. In his departure interview, Ryu said, “I thought it was better to go to a warm place and start training as soon as possible.” “I’m going through the rehabilitation phase according to the schedule set by the surgeon who operated on me. I think I’ll start playing rehab games in June. I think I’ll be back (after the All-Star break).”

From there, Ryu will take steps such as live pitching and minor league rehab appearances as he gradually increases the intensity of his pitches. “He’s going to be throwing live in June,” Toronto general manager Ross Atkins told local media. Ryu returned to action in 2017 after surgery in 2015 and had a fantastic 2019 season, going 14-5 with a 2.32 ERA (first in the majors). Ryu has risen to the occasion despite the concerns of those around him. Will he be able to make a similar comeback in the second half of the season? Korean fans have high hopes.