Ryu Hyun-jin, a Korean starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, had to leave early due to injury in a game that was virtually a test for the Dodgers’ postseason roster. This is a serious blow to the team’s left-hander, who may have wanted to give a strong impression to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to earn a spot on the postseason four-starter rotation.
In a game against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, Ryu had lost only a point until the third inning he was hit by Joe Panik’s 151 kmph line drive in his left forearm. Ryu barely picked up the ball and threw it to the first base, getting the batter out, but soon he looked as if in pain, and eventually left the mound. Fortunately, medical examination confirmed that the injury is bruise, not fracture.
This game was crucial as it basically served as an audition for the Korean pitcher for joining the Dodgers’ postseason starters. As the Dodgers won the National League West on Friday, local media outlets speculated that the postseason would start with Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish, Alex Wood and Rich Hill. Also, Dodgers manager Roberts confirmed that Kenta Maeda, a Japanese pitcher who had during the regular season competed with Ryu over the fifth spot in the starters’ lineup, would be excluded from the postseason starters. Meanwhile, he hinted at the possibility that Ryu, who recorded two wins, one loss and a 2.36 ERA in the latter nine games except for the latest game, may be an “alternative starter” in the postseason rotation.