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Ryu Hyun-jin throws 146km/h fastball at trial match

Posted March. 13, 2017 07:54,   

Updated March. 13, 2017 08:06

"We just would rather make sure that he feels good and continues to improve."

The comment came from Los Angeles Dodgers manager David Roberts who watched left-hander Ryu Hyun-jin play on the mound at his first trial match. "It was all good in general, and I'm just satisfied," self-eval‎uated Ryu as well.

A green light turned on as Ryu was finally ready to pitch in the mound after a two-year rehabilitation due to his shoulder surgery. Ryu opened a trial match held in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday, and showed an excellent performance with two strikeouts and two hits during the first two innings.

The balls Ryu threw were also excellent as well. Among a total of 26 pitches, Ryu ran the match smoothly by recording strikes with first pitches to all three batters at the very first inning. Ryu tested his change-ups, curves, and sliders beside fast balls. What's more, Ryu was audacious enough to strike out Ben Revere with sliders who earned six hits in seven at-bats. "Today's game was a meaningful one in that Ryu proved he was really in a 'good condition' as he always said," MBC Sports Plus commentator Song Jae-woo gave his remarks. "I was impressed by Ryu who was fearless (from injury) and threw like he always did."

In addition, Ryu showed his pitch speed recovering by throwing his fastest at 91 miles per hour (or 146 km/h), settling the worries that his balls were not fast enough after the surgery. Not a bad speed, given that the season has yet to start. Still, Ryu is required to prove to himself that he can throw faster with around 80 to 90 pitches at the remaining trial matches. When Ryu recorded 14 wins during the 2013 and 2014 seasons, he showed an average of 93 miles per hour (approx. 150 km/h) per pitch.

Another task Ryu has to bear in mind is recovering his hands-on experience. Ryu emphasized this when he made his self-eval‎uation, saying, "I felt I need to make improvements when I threw strikes too focused on the center and balls so off the zone when I let go a batter at the 2nd inning."

Hong-Gu Kang windup@donga.com