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Dodgers' Ryu comes home after solid sophomore year in MLB

All Headlines 19:06 October 14, 2014

INCHEON, Oct. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers returned home Tuesday after putting together a solid sophomore season in Major League Baseball (MLB), vowing to improve himself in 2015.

In a roller-coaster 2014 season, Ryu went 14-7 with a 3.38 ERA, numbers that easily could have been better had he avoided three trips to the disabled list (DL).

Ryu matched the win total from his rookie season in 2013 despite making four fewer starts, 30 to 26. His ERA this year was slightly higher compared to 2013, when he finished with 3.00.

Still, Ryu further cemented his status as the Dodgers' No. 3 starter behind a pair of former Cy Young Award winners, Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke.

After his rookie year, Ryu had given himself "99 points" in a scale of 100 when asked to grade his season. He was harder on himself this year.

"I think I should give myself about 70 points," Ryu told reporters at Incheon International Airport. "I had some scoreless outings, but there were games when I fell apart early, and it was also disappointing that I went on the DL three times."

Ryu had four scoreless outings out of his first five starts this season. Then after a start on April 27, Ryu came down with left shoulder inflammation and was placed on the disabled list for the first time in his big league career. He didn't start again until May 21.

Then in mid-August, Ryu headed back to the disabled list with a right hip strain and returned on the final day of that month.

Ryu made two more starts in September before shutting down for the rest of the regular season, as his left shoulder flared up again.

In all, he pitched 152 innings this year, 40 fewer innings than a year ago.

Ryu did make improvements in other categories. Compared to 2013, he gave up fewer walks and struck out more per nine innings.

The 27-year-old made one postseason start, in Game 3 of the National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. He held the Cards to one run on five hits in six innings, and left the game with the score tied at 1-1. The Dodgers' bullpen promptly gave up two runs in the seventh and lost the game 3-1. The Cardinals later eliminated the Dodgers in four games.

That Game 3 was Ryu's first start in nearly a month. He said he would have liked to see the Dodgers' season last longer.

"Obviously, it was disappointing to have the season end so quickly after I came back from the injury," the pitcher said. "Hopefully, we can play longer (in the postseason) next year."

Ryu said his objective next year is to pitch 200 innings, a barometer of durability and consistency for starting pitchers.

He also revealed that he'd altered his grip on his slider during the season, saying he felt he needed to add some twists to his arsenal. He denied earlier speculation he'd developed a cutter.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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