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(Spring Training) Talks centered around cutter in Ryu Hyun-jin's 2nd bullpen with Blue Jays

All News 07:25 February 17, 2020

By Yoo Jee-ho

DUNEDIN, United States, Feb. 16 (Yonhap) -- Toronto Blue Jays' South Korean starter Ryu Hyun-jin threw his second bullpen session of spring training Sunday, with the cutter being the focal point of conversations with his pitching coach and teammates.

Ryu threw 40 pitches -- 20 pitches each in two sets -- at the Player Development Complex outside TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida, three days after making 33 pitches.

Ryu Hyun-jin of the Toronto Blue Jays throws in the bullpen at the Player Development Complex outside TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida, on Feb. 16, 2020. (Yonhap)

Ryu, who signed a four-year, US$80 million contract in December, has been at the center of attention in spring training so far. As the reigning major league ERA leader and runner-up in the National League Cy Young Award, Ryu is expected to become the Jays' first bona fide No. 1 starter since the midseason trade of Marcus Stroman in 2019.

Ryu bounced some curveballs in the dirt in the first half of the session but regained his typical, pinpoint control in the latter portion.

"I just had a little trouble with the curve, but things happen," Ryu told reporters afterward. "This session went pretty well otherwise. Everything went according to the plan."

Ryu said his main focus was on increasing his workload, as he builds toward his first spring outing later this month. The team has told Ryu when that will be, but the pitcher and his coaches have both kept mum about the schedule.

Toronto Blue Jays' catcher Danny Jansen (L) and pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin talk during their bullpen session at the Player Development Complex outside TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida, on Feb. 16, 2020. (Yonhap)

Ryu was also seen talking with the 26-year-old right-hander Trent Thornton while showing a grip on the ball. Ryu later said Thornton approached him about the cutter, and left-hander Ryan Borucki, 25, did the same too.

"I told them everything I knew about the pitch," said Ryu, one of the Jays' oldest pitchers at 32. "I don't mind sharing information with my teammates. There are no secrets between us."

Ryu also said his pitching coach, Pete Walker, asked him about his cutter, which Ryu introduced to his arsenal in 2017.

But Ryu added, "My main pitch is still the changeup."

This was Ryu's first bullpen with Danny Jansen, having earlier thrown to Jansen's backup, Reese McGuire, last Thursday.

"I think things have been going better than I'd expected (with the new catchers)," Ryu said. "We're just doing bullpens now, so they're not calling pitches behind the plate. But so far, so good."

Asked if he'd prefer to have a personal catcher for his starts, Ryu said: "No. I think pitchers should be able to work with any catcher."

Ryu Hyun-jin of the Toronto Blue Jays speaks to reporters at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida, on Feb. 16, 2020. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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