A miraculous resurgence ahead of free agency. After 444 days of Tommy John surgery and rehabilitation, Ryu Hyun-jin, 36, of the Toronto Blue Jays, is back with another human victory and a boost to his stock as a prospective free agent.
Ryu started a home game against the Chicago Cubs on April 14 and pitched five innings of two-hit ball with two walks and three strikeouts to lead Toronto to an 11-4 victory. It was his first win of the season, and his first in 444 days since May 27 against the Los Angeles Angels before Tommy John surgery.
When Ryu went under the knife for the fourth time last June in his mid-30s, it seemed like his baseball career would be over. But just as he did in 2015, when he underwent surgery to repair a labrum tear in his shoulder that gave him a 7 percent chance of returning to the field, Ryu rose to become the second-best pitcher in baseball.
“Ryu’s perfect return before free agency is just what Toronto needed” Toronto media
After the game, the Toronto Star, a Canadian media outlet, published an article titled “Hyun-jin Ryu is giving Toronto exactly what it needs.” It seemed unlikely that Hyun-jin Ryu would have a meaningful role in Toronto at the start of this season. An elbow injury last year would keep him out until after the All-Star break. The two-time Cy Young Award finalist was likely to be rusty after returning, as his velocity dropped. “Pitchers who undergo Tommy John surgery usually return after 12 months, but it can take 18 months to return to full strength,” he said, adding that realistically, he didn’t have high expectations for Ryu this year.
“Heading into free agency, Ryu’s number one goal was to get back into the starting lineup and prove that he could still contribute to the team. The more he pitches, the more teams will take a chance on him in the offseason. The 36-year-old needed innings and a chance to get back to his best to prove he’s healthy, but Toronto didn’t have time for an audition. With the Seattle Mariners chasing them for the final wild-card spot, the conflicting needs of the Toronto team in the standings and Ryu’s need to regain his feel for the game were a concern.
The concerns were not allayed when the right-hander gave up four runs on nine hits (one homer) and one walk while striking out three in 5 1/3 innings against the Baltimore Orioles on Aug. 2. But he rebounded with a four-inning, one-hit, two-strikeout no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians on Aug. 8 before being knocked out of the game by a batted ball, and then bounced back with a five-inning, two-hit, three-strikeout, two-run (no earned) win over the Cubs today. He is 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA in three starts.
The Toronto Star wrote, “There were scenarios where Ryu’s return could have been a bit of a mess, but so far it’s worked out perfectly. Alec Manoa’s continued struggles have left a void, and Ryu has pitched beyond expectations. His velocity is down and his command isn’t quite back to full strength, but he’s held the Cubs to two runs in five innings.
“He’s looking like his pre-injury self, doing things that aren’t easy at his age.” Toronto manager
Ryu threw a total of 86 pitches on the day, including a four-seam fastball (40), changeup (24), cutter (12), and curve (10). His four-seam fastball topped out at 91.1 mph (146.6 km/h) and averaged 88.4 mph (142.3 km/h), but he only allowed two hard hits. He had solid command and used his changeup and curveball to throw hitters off their timing. Two unearned runs in the first inning were the result of a fielding error, and he held the Cubs offense scoreless until the fifth inning.
Toronto manager John Schneider said of Ryu after the game, “He was unbelievable. He didn’t hesitate for a second and kept their hard-hitting offense in check. He’s showing everything he did before the injury in his first three games back. I can’t believe he’s doing this at his age. It’s not an easy thing to do, but he makes it look so easy.” “He’s thrown a couple 91 mph pitches, and he knows his stuff and he knows how to mix up his pitches. As he continues to pitch and his velocity comes up a little bit more, he’s going to be even better. He knows how to throw really well.”
Ryu said, “Honestly, I’m really happy. This is what I’ve been hoping for since my surgery. It’s good to win personally, but it’s good to help the team win,” he said, adding, “Everything went smoothly from the rehabilitation process. All my pitches are working the way I want them to, and I’m getting good results.”토토사이트
Ryu’s four-year, $80 million free agent contract with Toronto ends after this season. If he maintains his current pace through the rest of the season, he’ll be well-rewarded in free agency. At 36 years old, he won’t be able to sign a big, long-term deal, but there will always be a demand for proven starting pitchers. Ryu’s resurgence has come at the perfect time, and he’s starting to raise expectations for another free agent signing.