He’ll face the Orioles in his return on March 2
First start since elbow surgery last year안전놀이터

Ryu Hyun-jin tipped his hat to fans during a visit to his hometown team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, on April 26. /Blue Jays Instagram

Ryu Hyun-jin, 36, of the Toronto Blue Jays, will return to a Major League Baseball (MLB) mound for the first time in 14 months.

Ryu will take the mound against the Baltimore Orioles at 8:07 a.m. ET on April 2 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario. Blue Jays manager John Schneider, 43, told local media on Sept. 29, “Ryu is ready to go. It’s time to move forward and not look back.” With Ryu joining the starting rotation, the Blue Jays will go with a six-man starting rotation for the time being. “We’re going to give him the mound with no pitch count restrictions,” Schneider said.

Ryu last pitched out of the bullpen at home on June 30. He is 5-1 with a 4.35 ERA against the Orioles. The Orioles, who were underdogs heading into the season, have been on a tear this year, leading the American League with 63 wins and 41 losses. “It doesn’t matter what team I’m facing,” Ryu said, “I want to create a platform for my team to win as a starting pitcher in any game.”

It’s been a year and two months since Ryu took the mound in an MLB start against the Chicago White Sox in June of last year. He gave up three runs in four innings and then left the mound on his own after feeling pain in his left elbow. Ryu, who underwent elbow ligament reconstruction surgery for the second time since 2004 when he was a student at Dongsan High School, has been rehabbing for a long time and has made four minor league appearances this month to improve his conditioning.

MLB.com wrote of Ryu’s return to the starting lineup, “His Blue Jays teammates call him ‘Hyeong’ (older brother). ‘ It’s a Korean word that translates to ‘Big Brother,'” the site wrote, highlighting his leadership. “Ryu is more than a mentor to his Blue Jays teammates. He generously passes on his knowledge to the younger players.” Alec Manoa, 25, a 16-7 ace last year, sought out Ryu when he was in a slump this year, and Ryu bought him dinner and gave him advice. “Seeing him not complain once during his rehabilitation made me respect him even more,” Park Jun-sung, Ryu’s interpreter, told MLB.com.

The Blue Jays are in third place in the American League East (58-46) and are in a tight playoff race, so Ryu’s arrival is crucial. In Major League Baseball, the champion of each league’s East, Central, and West divisions, plus the top three teams in the wild card standings, make the playoffs, and the Blue Jays are tied for the second wild card with the Houston Astros. The Blue Jays won their third straight game on April 30, defeating the Los Angeles Angels 6-1.

With a 75-45 record and a 3.27 ERA in 11 seasons in the big leagues, he’ll need to perform well the rest of the way to extend his MLB career. Ryu, who signed a four-year, $80 million contract with the Blue Jays before the 2020 season, is out of contract after this season.

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