Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin will make his 2023 season debut next week, ending a 14-month rehab from elbow surgery.
The Blue Jays announced Friday (Toronto time) that Ryu will face the Baltimore Orioles at home Tuesday, starting at 7:07 p.m. (local time), or 8:07 a.m. Wednesday (Seoul time).
"He's ready to roll," Blue Jays manager John Schneider told local media. "Push the 'Go' button and don't look back."
The South Korean left-hander last pitched in the majors on June 1, 2022. He had experienced some forearm discomfort in the days leading up to the outing, and eventually underwent Tommy John surgery to repair ligament damage in his left elbow.
The 36-year-old is in the final year of his four-year, US$80 million contract.
After signing with the Blue Jays as a free agent in December 2019, Ryu made a quick impact on the team, going 5-2 with a 2.69 ERA in 12 starts in 2020 en route to finishing third in the American League (AL) Cy Young Award voting.
He battled through some inconsistency in 2021 and finished with a 14-10 record and a 4.37 ERA.
Ryu was limited to only six starts last year and pitched to a 5.67 ERA before opting for the second elbow operation of his career.
He has pitched in a few minor league rehab outings and gradually increased his workload. His fastball velocity sat around 88 to 89 mph, slightly below his average from earlier seasons. Ryu has told the Toronto media, however, that he has been pleased with his command and that his velocity is where he needs it to be.
With Ryu's return, the Blue Jays will run a six-man rotation during their grueling stretch of 17 games in 17 days that began Friday with a home game against the Los Angeles Angels.
Prior to Friday's game, the Blue Jays ranked third in the AL East at 57-46 and held down the third and final spot in the AL Wild Card race. They had the fifth-best starting pitching ERA in the AL at 3.88.
Source: Yonhap News Agency