For a Toronto Blue Jays pitching staff who has been fighting through the trenches with a four-man rotation along with a taxed and battered bullpen, it appears as though light may be appearing at the end of the tunnel.
The long awaited return of starter Hyun Jin Ryu may be on the horizon as it was announced that he will be making his first rehab appearance this coming Tuesday July 4th, either with the Florida Complex League or Single-A affiliate of the Blue Jays. As per Scott Mitchell of TSN, he appears to be in great physical shape, having lost 30 pounds, along with hitting close to 88 mph on the radar gun as he slowly begins to build back up to speed. He is projected to return to the Jays roster hopefully by the end of the month.
The news couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Jays’ pitching, which had been somewhat solid for much of the season despite having Alek Manoah optioned to the minors earlier in June to work on his pitching mechanics, have began to have its warts in recent days, perhaps due to fatigue resulting from running a four-man rotation.
Ryu was a key part of the Jays’ rotation back in 2020 when he was signed by the Jays as a free agent to a 4-year, $80 million contract. He posted a Cy Young-caliber type year in 2020 during the COVID-shortened season in leading the Jays to a postseason birth for the first time in four years. However, he followed it up with a sub-par season in 2021, and an injury-plagued one in 2022 in which he eventually had to undergo Tommy John surgery that ended his 2022 campaign prematurely.
In his three years with the ballclub, Ryu has posted a 21-12 record with a 4.07 ERA, 108 ERA+, 1.22 WHIP, 58 walks and 231 strikeouts over 263 innings pitched with one complete game shutout. Now in his final season of his four-year contract with the Jays, Ryu hopes to be able to make the most out of his rehab assignment and make it back to the big club as soon as possible to help stabilize the Jays’ starting rotation and get them once again back into playoff contention.