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(LEAD) (ROUNDUP) Two S. Koreans in majors placed on DL

All News 16:03 July 20, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS teams' records, more injury news)
By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, July 20 (Yonhap) -- Bitten by the injury bug, two South Korean players in Major League Baseball (MLB) have been placed on the disabled list (DL) by their respective clubs.

Los Angeles Dodgers' starter Ryu Hyun-jin was put back on the 15-day DL Tuesday (local time) with left elbow tendinitis, after making one start following last year's shoulder operation. In the American League, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Kim Hyun-soo was placed on the 15-day DL with a right hamstring injury.

The Dodgers said the move is retroactive to July 9, but they have no timetable on Ryu's return. Ryu was scratched from his scheduled start against the Washington Nationals on the road Wednesday.

He made just one start after returning from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder. On July 7 against the San Diego Padres, Ryu was touched for six runs on eight hits -- five of which went for extra bases -- in 4 2/3 innings, as the Dodgers were shut out 6-0.

An MRI of the elbow showed no notable changes from previous tests, according to the club. Ryu had Tommy John (elbow reconstructive) surgery in high school in South Korea.

Their rotation has been decimated by injuries all season, but as Ryu moves to the DL, they'll soon welcome back Alex Wood.

The Dodgers were hoping Clayton Kershaw, a three-time National League Cy Young Award winner, would rejoin the club and start Thursday against the Nationals, but he suffered a setback after a bullpen session Saturday. His return is "uncertain," in manager Dave Roberts' words, and the Dodgers recalled prospect Julio Urias from Triple-A to start Thursday.

Despite the injuries, the Dodgers are leading the NL Wild Card race at 53-42, following a 8-4 win over Washington Tuesday. In the NL West, they're 4.5 games behind the first-place San Francisco Giants.

The second trip to the DL is the latest setback for Ryu since his return after undergoing surgery in May last year. He missed the entire 2015 season, and then had to deal with shoulder and groin issues during his rehab this spring.

Ryu made eight rehab appearances in the minors before returning to the majors. He touched 92 mph with his fastball early on, but in the fifth inning -- his final inning of work -- against the Padres, Ryu failed to go over 90 mph with any of his five fastballs.

Labrum tears are notorious for having spelled ends to many All-Star careers, and pitchers, such as Robb Nen and Brandon Webb -- the 2006 National League Cy Young Award winner -- were never the same after their operations.

The 29-year-old signed a six-year, US$36 million deal with the Dodgers before the 2013 season. He's the first player to jump from the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) to the majors via posting.

For Kim, the move to DL is retroactive to July 11.

Kim strained his right hamstring on July 10 while running out a grounder against the Los Angeles Angels. He had been held out of all four games since the All-Star break, but the club had been hoping Kim could avoid a trip to the DL.

Kim spent 10 seasons in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) before signing a two-year deal with the Orioles last December. He told the U.S. media on Monday he'd never missed so much time with an injury in his career.

Kim had a miserable spring, batting just .178 (8-for-45) with no extra-base hits, but later established himself as a solid No. 2 hitter in one of the American League's most productive lineups. Kim has a .329/.410/.454 line with three home runs and 11 RBIs in 152 at-bats across 46 games.

The Orioles suffered their third straight loss Tuesday, falling to the New York Yankees 7-1. At 53-39, their lead in the AL East over the Boston Red Sox has dwindled to half a game. The Toronto Blue Jays are in third in the division, just 1.5 games behind the Orioles.

These two moves leave five South Koreans on active major league rosters: Seattle Mariners first baseman Lee Dae-ho, Los Angeles Angels first baseman Choi Ji-man, Texas Rangers outfielder Choo Shin-soo, St. Louis Cardinals reliever Oh Seung-hwan and Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Kang Jung-ho.

Park Byung-ho, first baseman and designated hitter for the Minnesota Twins, was sent down to the minors earlier this month after his batting average dipped to .191.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
(END)

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