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Blue Jays' Ryu Hyun-jin to face minor leaguers in next spring outing

All News 08:58 March 12, 2020

SEOUL, March 12 (Yonhap) -- Toronto Blue Jays' Ryu Hyun-jin will face minor league hitters in his next spring training outing, instead of facing a division rival for the second time in five days.

Manager Charlie Montoyo told reporters in Dunedin, Florida, on Wednesday (local time) that the South Korean starter will next pitch Saturday in a minor league game. The Blue Jays are scheduled to host the Tampa Bay Rays at TD Ballpark that day.

Ryu's previous start came against the Rays on Monday. He held them scoreless in 4 1/3 innings and struck out four, while throwing 44 of his 66 pitches for strikes.

In this USA Today Sports photo via Reuters, Ryu Hyun-jin of the Toronto Blue Jays throws a warmup pitch before a spring training game against the Tampa Bay Rays at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida, on March 9, 2020. (Yonhap)

As the American League (AL) East foes, the Jays and the Rays will square off 19 times during the regular season. Ryu, having spent the seven previous years in the National League West with the Los Angeles Dodgers, remains a relative unknown to AL East hitters, and the Blue Jays would like to keep it that way.

Ryu also skipped one scheduled start against the Rays two weeks ago, when he opted to pitch in an unofficial, simulated game instead of visiting the Rays in Port Charlotte, about two hours south of Dunedin.

Montoyo also reasoned that pitching against minor leaguers will allow Ryu to manage his workload better. The 32-year-old left-hander has been building up his pitch count and innings in preparation for his near-certain Opening Day assignment on March 26. He is known for sticking to a unique set of routines, and the Blue Jays, which made him the highest-paid pitcher in team history with a four-year, US$80 million contract in December, are willing to give him as much leeway as he needs.

In two official spring training starts so far, Ryu is 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in 6 1/3 innings. He has six strikeouts against zero walks.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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