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NL, Dodgers manager Roberts 'proud' of Ryu Hyun-jin for overcoming adversity

All Headlines 09:52 July 09, 2019

CLEVELAND, July 8 (Yonhap) -- As far as Dave Roberts is concerned, choosing his own Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin to start this week's All-Star Game in Cleveland was "a no-brainer."

Ryu leads all major league pitchers with a 1.73 ERA this year and is tied for the National League (NL) lead with 10 wins. During his impressive first half, the South Korean left-hander enjoyed a 32-inning scoreless streak and held opponents to two or fewer earned runs in 15 straight starts.

With that, Roberts made Ryu the first South Korean pitcher to start an All-Star Game.

In this Associated Press photo, National League manager Dave Roberts speaks at a press conference in Cleveland on July 8, 2019, on the eve of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. (Yonhap)

"For me, he's the epitome of consistency," Roberts, the NL manager for the All-Star Game, said at a press conference in Cleveland on the eve of the Midsummer Classic on Monday. "He's been the best pitcher in the National League."

That Ryu is even pitching in the majors in 2019, let alone competing at the All-Star Game, is a remarkable story in itself. After making the jump from the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) to the majors before the 2013 season, Ryu put together back-to-back 14-win seasons. Then he missed the entire 2015 season following shoulder labrum surgery and was limited to one start in 2016 before shutting things down with an elbow issue. Ryu once went 973 days between wins.

"Just his going through injuries throughout his career and to come back to where he's at right now, for me I'm very proud of him to overcome all this adversity," Robert said. "And then now you layer in the component of the game as we're trying to expand this game of baseball: first South Korean-born pitcher to start a Major League All-Star Game. So I think that's a big deal, not only for him, but his country. So it was a no-brainer for me."

All-Star Game managers typically announce their starting pitchers in their pre-game press conference the day before the game. Roberts went ahead and named Ryu his starter last week.

Asked to name some factors behind his decision to go with Ryu, Roberts said, "Performance is No. 1, and he earned it because he performed."

"All the other stuff, the hard work and adversity, the consistency, which led to the performance. And that's why I feel really confident in naming him the starting pitcher," he added.

In this Reuters photo via USA Today Sports, National League manager Dave Roberts (R) speaks at a press conference in Cleveland on July 8, 2019, on the eve of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, as his starting pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin (L) listens. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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