On Monday evening, with Toronto Blue Jays’ starting pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu cruising along in his second start of the season after coming off Tommy John surgery, it suddenly came to a halt in the bottom of the 4th inning against the Cleveland Guardians. With two outs and nobody on base, Guardians’ designated hitter Oscar Gonzalez lined the first pitch he saw off of Ryu’s right knee. Ryu recovered quickly to make the play at first base, but subsequently crumpled to the ground in obvious pain afterwards. He was later removed from the game and was replaced by Jay Jackson to start the 5th inning.
Seeing Ryu go down like that in just his second start of the season was tough to digest for both the Jays and their fans, with many worrying it could potentially be catastrophic with the way he went down. Fortunately, some good news came back on Monday, showing that x-ray results on his right knee were negative, so everyone could breathe a huge sigh of relief as it appears to be just a minor knee contusion. In addition, Jays manager John Schneider believes that Ryu could be ready for his scheduled start this upcoming Sunday as a result, but they could always play it safe to give him a little more rest if needed, since they have a six-man rotation going right now.
In the big picture, it is essential that Ryu be healthy as possible, as he could be one of the key players for the Blue Jays down the stretch, with the Jays failing to add to their starting pitching depth at the trade deadline. It is a tall order to ask, but if Ryu could somehow regain his Cy Young-like form from 2020, he could be a huge difference maker for the ballclub in their current playoff chase. And if Tuesday’s impressive outing (4.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K) prior to his injury was any sign of how he will be performing the rest of the year, the Jays’ hopes in making the postseason just got that much better.