Blue Jays pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu done for the season as elbow surgery looms

·3 min read
Tommy John surgery could also be on the table for Ryu, who will miss at least the remainder of the 2022 season due to a lingering UCL injury. (Getty)
Tommy John surgery could also be on the table for Ryu, who will miss at least the remainder of the 2022 season due to a lingering UCL injury. (Getty)

It’s a disappointing day for the Toronto Blue Jays and starter Hyun Jin Ryu.

On Tuesday, general manager Ross Atkins revealed that Ryu will undergo elbow surgery to repair the UCL in his left arm. The Blue Jays GM noted that Tommy John surgery could be on the table as well.

Ryu, 35, has been on the 15-day injured list since June 2 with elbow inflammation. It’s the second time he’s landed on the IL this season.

Until Ryu undergoes the procedure, doctors can’t determine the severity of his UCL injury. But for Toronto’s sake, Atkins and the rest of the franchise are hoping for the best-case scenario, which would be just a partial tear rather than a full one.

“There’s not a ton of research that the partial would be shorter,” Atkins explained on Tuesday. “Is it a third shorter? Is it a quarter shorter? It’s based on the patient, the rehab and the actual repair. It would be less if it is a partial repair, though.”

Either way, this is crushing news for Ryu and the Blue Jays. As Atkins detailed during his media availability, losing the left-hander for the remainder of the season will be a major blow to the club’s starting rotation.

“He’s extremely disappointed,” Atkins said. “He just got to the point where he just wanted to compete as quick as humanly possible. We felt like this was the best thing to do that. We’re focused on him doing that for us.

“Obviously, he’s professional and he’s a very tough individual who has perspective, but he’s disappointed that he won’t be part of this in the near term,” Atkins said.

Without Ryu, pitcher Ross Stripling is expected to remain in his spot through the rest of the way. Over his last two starts, the 32-year-old has thrown 11-scoreless innings for the Blue Jays.

As for the organization’s pitching depth in the minors, starters Thomas Hatch and Max Castillo would likely be the first ones promoted to the majors if another vacancy opens at the big-league level. Hatch is already featured on the club’s 40-man roster.

Toronto signed Ryu to a four-year, $80-million contract prior to the 2020 campaign. The native of South Korea spent his first seven big-league seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

This season, the left-hander compiled 27.0 innings across six starts, performing to a 2-0 record and a 5.67 ERA. He made his final start of 2022 on Jun. 1 against the Chicago White Sox.

The Blue Jays also made a separate injury move on Tuesday, placing reliever Julian Merryweather on the 15-day IL with a left abdominal strain. Right-hander Jeremy Beasley was recalled from triple-A Buffalo. It’s the third time he’s been promoted from the minors this month.

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