Hyun-Jin Ryu and Zack Greinke, the two newest additions to the Dodger rotation, participated in their first bullpen sessions of Spring Training Thursday at Camelback Ranch. Both looked mighty fine in Blue I must say. While Zack Greinke’s Dodger debut is something in which many look forward to, the spotlight was clearly on Hyun-Jin Ryu as many watched him pitch live for the very first time. In fact, Ned Colletti and Don Mattingly had never before witnessed Ryu pitch in person and had only viewed his talent on video.
Ryu made 40 pitches as his manager, general manager, starting catcher, and a huge crowd of American and Korean media members looked on.
A.J. Ellis had this to say after the bullpen session:
"“It was really good. His fastball had command on both sides and the ball came out really well, with life to it. He has an easy, calm motion. He wasn’t trying to impress the first time out, like some guys, and overthrow. He knew what he wanted to do and executed.”"
Ellis has been studying a video compilation which included three starts made by Ryu. He’ll have to work on learning some Korean in order to better communicate with the left-hander.
Rick Honeycutt called Ryu’s changeup “a plus-plus pitch.”
Ryu was reportedly a bit out of shape during a conditioning run Wednesday at Camelback Ranch which he attributes to a difference between Korean and Major League conditioning programs. The $61.7 million investment in which the Dodgers spent signing Ryu has been assessed as a risk by some. Ryu will need to work on the needed adjustments which will allow him to transition from Korean baseball to Major League play. One such skill he will need to work on this spring is a viable pickoff move which will not be ruled a balk, and the other challenge will be getting him some at bats.
Ryu, who bats right-handed, also worked with Mark McGwire hitting off a tee. Ryu hasn’t batted in seven years. While Ryu may not ever hit like teammates Clayton Kershaw or Chad Billingsley who are decent hitting pitchers, as long as he throws strikes, he’ll be a welcomed addition to the Dodger rotation.