Hyun Jin Ryu undergoes elbow surgery at the end of the season


Hyun Jin Ryu undergoes elbow surgery at the end of the season

Left-handers of the Blue Jays Hyun Jin Ryu will undergo elbow surgery, general manager Ross Atkins informed reporters (including TSN Sports’ Scott Mitchell). It’s not yet known if Ryu will need full Tommy John reconstructive surgery or a partial repair – it’s not uncommon for the extent of the ligament damage to be unclear until the surgeon has actually started the procedure – but he’ll miss the rest of the season 2022 in any case.

The former All-Star has been on the injured list for the past two weeks after being diagnosed with a forearm strain and an elbow infection. It was his second arm-related stint this season, as he was also out for a few weeks between April and May with a forearm infection. Unfortunately, this stay will last much longer than the first one, because this time Ryu can’t avoid going under the knife.

Ryu has struggled with some arm problems in the past and missed most of the 2015-16 seasons while he was a member of the Dodgers. In May 2015, he underwent surgery to repair a labrum tear in his shoulder, an injury that cost him the entire season. The following year he battled elbow tendinitis and made just one MLB start before being shut down. Ryu returned to the court in 25 games in 2017, and while he’s had a handful of IL stints in the years since, he’d avoided nearly all of his arm issues until recently.

After a 2019 campaign in which Ryu pitched 182 2/3 innings with 2.32 ERA balls, the Jays signed a four-year, $80 million contract as a free agent. Ryu was brilliant in the first season of this contract, taking all 12 rounds through the rotation during the shortened campaign and posting a 2.69 ERA. His results took a pretty notable step backwards last year when he hit a 4.37 mark through 169 frames. Aside from a minor neck issue in September, Ryu remained healthy, but he looked more like a strike-throwing innings eater than a top-of-the-rotation squad.

The 35-year-old has never seemed to feel well this season, perhaps due to his struggles with forearm problems. He worked 27 innings and posted a 5.67 ERA with a personally low strikeout rate of 14.2%. Ryu also posted the worst swinging strike mark of his career (7.6%) and the UCL injury will end his season after just six starts.

An exact timeline for his recovery will not be known until after he goes under the knife, but it’s possible he’s already thrown his last pitch in a Toronto uniform. The South Korean slinger is due the remainder of his $20 million salary this season and has a $20 million contract next year, the final season of his deal. If he underwent full reconstructive surgery, he could potentially miss the entire 2023 campaign.

In the short term, the win-now Blue Jays need to move forward with their rotation alternatives. It’s still a quality group with signers for the off-season Kevin Gausman and star sophomore Alex Manoah publish excellent figures. Jose Berrios has struggled but is in no danger of losing his rotation spot given his track record while Toronto signed the enigmatic one Yusei Kikuchi a three-year contract over the winter. swingers Ross Stripling has stepped into last place and has performed well in seven starts despite coming through a difficult stretch of 2020-21.

Atkins acknowledged that Ryu’s injury makes it more likely that they’ll strengthen the group through trades this summer (via Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi). Not surprisingly, he didn’t offer a tip on whether they’d be looking for a stable back-end type or prioritizing a stronger arm like Oakland’s Frankie Montas or Cincinnati Luis Castillo. Toronto should have the flexibility and urgency of payroll to consider at least a wide range of opportunities. The Jays come into Tuesday possession with the best wild card berth in the American League, but eight games behind the Yankees in the AL East.

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