Blue Jays’ Ryu Hyun-jin reports no health problems after rough outing

September 13, 2021

After getting knocked around in the worst start of the 2021 season amid whispers of a potential injury, Toronto Blue Jays’ starter Ryu Hyun-jin insisted he has no health-related issues.

Ryu was rocked for seven earned runs on eight hits in 2 1/3 innings against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore on Saturday (local time), the shortest outing of the season. Ryu served up five extra-base hits, including two home runs, and only avoided a loss when his teammates rallied for an 11-10 win in the first game of a doubleheader.

In his previous start on Monday, Ryu experienced some left forearm discomfort after throwing only 80 pitches across six shutout innings against the New York Yankees. Ryu asked to be taken out of that game, though he said afterward there was no serious problem and he wouldn’t miss any time.

And Ryu was indeed back on the hill on regular rest Saturday but was far from being on top of his game.

Anthony Santander belted a two-run homer off Ryu in the first, and Austin Hays also smoked a two-run shot in the second inning. Ryan McKenna chased Ryu from the game with a bases-loaded double in the third inning, giving the Orioles a 7-3 lead.

Ryu said afterward he didn’t think he pitched as poorly as the numbers indicated.

“The first-inning home run was a mistake on my part. But for the next homer, I threw the ball exactly where I wanted to, and the hitter just swung the bat well,” Ryu said in his postgame Zoom interview.

As for his arm, Ryu said, “I have no problem whatsoever.”

The pitcher also said he didn’t think getting an additional day of rest would have made a difference.

“I was supposed to pitch on this day as part of our rotation,” he said. “I never once thought about extra rest.”

Ryu’s record remained at 13-8, and he’s still one shy of matching his career high for wins in a season. His ERA, though, is now up to 4.11. Since making his major league debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Ryu has never finished a full season with an ERA above 4.00.

“For every season, my goal is to keep my ERA as low as possible,” Ryu said. “But I’ve been allowing a lot of runs over the past month. I have to bear down and focus on each and every game for the rest of the season.”

The Orioles later built a 10-5 lead, but the resilient Blue Jays came all the way back to take the game 11-10, thanks to a four-run rally in the top of the seventh.

George Springer’s go-ahead two-run homer let Ryu off the hook.

“I didn’t do what a starting pitcher is supposed to do, and I felt terrible for my teammates for giving up so many runs early in the game,” Ryu said. “I got a lot of help from the guys, and they did a great job rallying for this win.”

The Blue Jays (78-63), having won nine of their past 10, briefly pulled into a tie for the second American League Wild Card spot with the New York Yankees.

“It was awesome to see my teammates not giving up after we got behind early,” Ryu said. “We have a lot of important games left and it was great to see the guys stay focused.”