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Dodgers' Ryu Hyun-jin targets 20 wins in 2019 season

All Headlines 14:49 December 07, 2018

SEOUL, Dec. 7 (Yonhap) -- Los Angeles Dodgers' South Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin said Friday he will try to collect 20 wins next season as he vowed for a better performance in front of South Korean baseball coaches.

Ryu received the grand prize, an honorary distinction for outstanding contribution to South Korean baseball, from the Ilgoo Club, made up of former and active coaches and managers.

"Like other baseball pitchers try to do, I want to collect 20 wins next year," Ryu said after accepting the award in Seoul. "I know it's going to be very difficult, but I will work hard toward that goal."

Los Angeles Dodgers' South Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin speaks after receiving the top award from the Ilgoo Club, made up of former and active South Korean baseball coaches and managers, at an event in Seoul on Dec. 7, 2018. (Yonhap)

Ryu went 7-3 with a 1.97 ERA in 15 starts in this regular season, while striking out 89 in 82 1/3 innings. It was a solid bounce-back season after a subpar three-year stretch that saw him undergo shoulder and elbow operations.

The 31-year-old left-hander also made the Dodgers' postseason rotation and became the first South Korean to start a World Series game. When the Dodgers reached the World Series in 2017, Ryu wasn't on the postseason roster.

Ryu's best seasons in the majors came in 2013 and 2014, when he earned 14 wins each.

"I think it's special for a starting pitcher to have 20 wins," he said. "In order to have 20 wins, you need to stay healthy and have more innings pitched."

Last month, Ryu accepted the Dodgers' qualifying offer of US$17.9 million for one season, after his six-year, US$36 million contract expired.

"My six years with the Dodgers went by faster than I thought," he said. "There were difficult times, but the time passed really quickly."

This photo taken by the Associated Press on Oct. 4, 2018, shows Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin competing against the Atlanta Braves in the Major League Baseball National League Division Series Game 1 in Los Angeles. (Yonhap)

This was Ryu's fourth award from the Ilgoo Club. He first won the best rookie award in 2006, followed by the best pitcher award in 2010 and the special achievement award in 2013.

"My goal is to do this kind of good work in the baseball community even if I retire," he said. "I promise that I will make an event where those in the baseball community can get together."

Ryu, who played with the Hanwha Eagles in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), said he will soon begin training for the next season. Ryu returned to his homeland on Nov. 20.

"I've been resting well here in South Korea, but I think it's about time to start training," he said. "Kim Yong-il, a training coach at the LG Twins, will help me."

Ryu added that he also plans to go to Okinawa, Japan, for personal training along with his former Eagles teammate Jang Min-jae.

Meanwhile, the Ilgoo Club handed the best pitcher award to the Eagles closer Jung Woo-ram, who led the KBO with 35 saves this season. The best hitter award went to Kim Jae-hwan of Doosan Bears, the KBO regular season MVP who led the league in home runs and RBIs. The best rookie award was presented to KT Wiz's teen slugger Kang Baek-ho.

Los Angeles Dodgers' South Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin (C) poses for a photo with Jung Woo-ram (R) of Hanwha Eagles and Kim Jae-hwan of Doosan Bears after receiving the top award from the Ilgoo Club, made up of former and active South Korean baseball coaches and managers, at an event in Seoul on Dec. 7, 2018. (Yonhap)

kdon@yna.co.kr
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