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Ryu Hyun-jin leaves for Florida for successful comeback

Posted December. 30, 2022 07:41,   

Updated December. 30, 2022 07:41


Toronto Blue Jays starter Ryu Hyun-jin, recovering after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his left elbow in June this year, has started preparing for the season earlier than usual. It indicates his commitment to making a successful comeback in the new year, which is the final year of his four-year contract with Toronto.

Ryu, who departed for the United States via Incheon International Airport on Thursday, said of his current physical condition. “I exercised six times a week even during my break. I'm currently practicing a 10-meter catch in line with the Interval Throwing Program (ITP)," Ryu said. "I plan to enhance the intensity by gradually increasing the distance."

Ryu arrived in Korea on Nov. 22 and left for the United States again after taking a break for about a month. He usually departed around January or February, but this time he left ahead of schedule because he desperately needed rehabilitation. He will travel to Dunedin, Florida, where his team's spring camp and rehab facilities are located. He usually departed with his family, but this time he left earlier without his family. “I have wanted to practice throwing the ball in warm weather, and the team wanted me to join them earlier as well," he said. "I think I will start training right away when I arrive."

Ryu is expecting his return to be in mid-July. “Looking at the schedule my surgeon has set, I think I will start the actual game as soon as the All-Star break (mid-July) is over. I think I will start playing rehabilitation games in June,” he said. “With my sights set on July, I will exert all my energy.” Next year's MLB kicks off on March 31.

Ryu signed a four-year, 80-million-dollar contract with Toronto in December 2019. Ryu, who has a career record of 75 wins and 45 losses with an ERA of 3.27 in the big leagues, has achieved 21 wins and 12 losses with an ERA of 4.07 over three years at Toronto. He pitched in only six games this year due to sore forearms and elbows, winning only two and posting an ERA of 5.67. “From the moment I chose surgery, I have been rehabilitating with the thought that I will definitely be on the mound," he said. "I will make a comeback in July and give Korean fans a good match.”

Hong-Gu Kang windup@donga.com