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Blue Jays' Ryu Hyun-jin gives up 3 in 3 innings in spring training debut

All News 09:17 March 26, 2022

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, March 26 (Yonhap) -- Toronto Blue Jays' South Korean starter Ryu Hyun-jin has allowed three runs in three innings of work in his spring training debut in Florida, with all the damage being done in the opening frame against the Detroit Tigers.

The Tigers jumped on the left-hander for a three-spot in the top of the first at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida, on Friday (local time). But Ryu, who turned 35 on this day, retired the side in order in both the second and third innings.

In this Canadian Press photo via the Associated Press, Ryu Hyun-jin of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the top of the first inning of a Major League Baseball spring training game at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida, on March 25, 2022. (Yonhap)

Ryu gave up four hits and struck out two, without walking anybody. He made 41 pitches, 28 of them for strikes. According to Statcast data, Ryu threw 22 four-seam fastballs, eight curveballs, six cutters, four changeups and one sinker.

The first of those hits was a leadoff home run by Akil Baddoo, who hit a 0-2 cutter over the right field wall.

Two batters later, Robbie Grossman singled up the middle, and Javier Baez brought him home with a double to center.

Jonathan Schoop then moved Baez to third with a single. Baez scored the third Detroit run of the inning on a double play ball by Riley Greene.

The veteran left-hander got into his groove in the second inning, when he induced three straight groundouts.

In the third, Ryu got the better of Baddoo by striking him out on a fastball. After another groundout, Ryu struck out Grossman on three pitches to end his outing.

The Blue Jays lost the game 8-4.

Ryu is entering Year 3 of his four-year, US$80 million contract. He finished third in the American League (AL) Cy Young Award voting in 2020 but struggled mightily down the stretch in 2021, when he posted a career-worst 4.37 ERA.

Ryu was the team's Opening Day starter in each of the past two years but will likely cede that honor to either Kevin Gausman, a new free agent signing, or Jose Berrios, who was acquired in a trade last year.

In this USA Today Sports photo via Reuters, Ryu Hyun-jin of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the top of the second inning of a Major League Baseball spring training game at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida, on March 25, 2022. (Yonhap)

Ryu was the last among five projected Toronto starting pitchers to make a spring training appearance. During the 99-day major league lockout, Ryu stayed in South Korea and worked out with his former Korea Baseball Organization club, the Hanwha Eagles.

After acquiring Gausman, a top-of-the-rotation type starter, and trading for Gold Glove-winning third baseman Matt Chapman, the Blue Jays are considered a strong contender to win the AL East division title this year.

With the right-hander Alek Manoah looking to build on a strong rookie campaign last year and former All-Star Yusei Kikuchi joining from the Seattle Mariners, the Blue Jays have what Ryu said Friday was "an extremely talented rotation."

"I feel it's just going to be up to me. If I can do what I'm supposed to do, I think we're going have a really good year," Ryu told reporters through an interpreter. "I feel like I'm in a better spot than I finished last year. I like to go through my whole pitching repertoire in any spring training games. Today, I felt like I used all of my pitches."

In this Canadian Press photo via the Associated Press, Ryu Hyun-jin of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts to a home run by Akil Baddoo of the Detroit Tigers during the top of the first inning of a Major League Baseball spring training game at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida, on March 25, 2022. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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