No Structural Damage to Hyun-jin Ryu’s Shoulder

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I was awaiting the word on Dodgers starter Hyun-jin Ryu‘s shoulder MRI on Monday, and Tuesday morning a report from Jon Heyman via Twitter gives us a bit of good news.

Shoulder surgery is something not to be taken lightly, and Adrian instilled plenty of fear in me yesterday as I began to worry that Ryu would have to go under the knife. Thankfully the shoulder inflammation seems to be the same type of shoulder issue which sidelined Ryu last season multiple times but did not require extensive rehab assignments or significant down time in the scope of the long season.

The Dodgers won’t need a fifth starter until April 13th or 14th, and then they will need someone to make a spot start again on April 23rd or 24th. Until then the expected rotation will consist of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson. As for the candidates to fill in for Ryu while he is on the disabled list to start the season, Don Mattingly said they are going over the possibilities.

“There are a lot of different things we’re looking at,” Mattingly said.

With Erik Bedard also disabled, the likely choice will be between Carlos Frias, Joe Wieland, Mike Bolsinger or even Zach Lee. The aforementioned starters have already been optioned to triple-A in anticipation of their starting rotation spots for Oklahoma City to begin the 2015 season. Mattingly could also choose to carry an extra reliever and go with a bullpen game or two while Ryu is out. We all know how Mattingly loves bullpen games.

I’d really like to see Zach Lee finally get his debut start for the Dodgers in 2015, and why not do so while the season is young in April? Lee is still only 23-years old, and he was once considered a top pitching prospect until he struggled last season with Albuquerque. Lee is more than capable to make a spot start for the Dodgers in my opinion, and perhaps it’s finally time to see what the first-round draft pick can do at the major league level without the season in Albuquerque getting in the way of his potential future as a Dodger.

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Lee has only given up 1 hit over 4 innings of work for the Dodgers during Spring Training. He struck out 1 and walked 1 in 2 games and 1 start.

A Joe Wieland start or two wouldn’t be the end of the world, and Carlos Frias did have 2 starts for the Dodgers (one disastrous start in Colorado) for the Dodgers last season. Eight earned runs in 2/3 of an inning was indeed ugly, but Frias is a lot better than that one Coors Field start reflects.

Before succumbing to the shoulder injury, Ryu pitched 5 innings this Spring at Camelback Ranch. He allowed 3 runs on 3 hits in his 2 starts while striking out 4 and walking 1. I had the chance to watch Ryu’s bullpen session on my trip to Spring Training, and I did not see him in any major discomfort as he pitched. Hopefully, Ryu will be back in a few weeks, and perhaps until then we can get a look at Zach Lee or one of the other starters who very well may get more starts throughout the season should the injury-prone back end of the rotation as well as the front three starters look to stay healthy.

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