LOS ANGELES — South Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers will undergo arthroscopic left shoulder surgery, the club announced Wednesday.
The Major League Baseball (MLB) team said Dr. Neal ElAttrache will conduct the operation on Thursday. Though the Dodgers didn’t provide details on the recovery time, the 28-year-old lefty is expected to miss the rest of the season.
Ryu made two spring training appearances this year but hasn’t pitched in the regular season because of shoulder issues. His rehab program was put on hold earlier this month after the southpaw showed a marked drop in his velocity during a bullpen session. He hasn’t thrown since May 1.
Ryu also experienced shoulder problems last season. He spent some time on the disabled list in midseason and then was shut down before the end of the regular season. He made one playoff appearance.
After seven successful seasons in South Korea, Ryu signed a six-year, US$36 million contract with the Dodgers in December 2012. He has won 14 games in each of his first two MLB seasons, with a 3.14 ERA, 293 strikeouts and 78 walks in 344 innings.
Ryu was supposed to begin 2015 as the Dodgers’ No. 3 starter behind two former Cy Young winners, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. Two offseason acquisitions, Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson, were to round out the rotation.
McCarthy has been ruled out for season after Tommy John surgery, and Ryu will now join him on the shelves. The Dodgers have patched up their rotation with the likes of Mike Bolsinger and Carlos Frias, but may be forced to make trades to acquire more established big league starters.
Ryu is under contract until 2018. He is making $4.83 million this year and will get $7.83 million in each of his next three seasons. He can opt out and become a free agent after the 2017 season if he reaches 750 innings from 2013 to 2017. If he doesn’t pitch in 2015, Ryu needs to pitch more than 400 innings in 2016 and 2017 to activate that clause.
Ryu also had elbow reconstructive operation, commonly known as Tommy John surgery, as a high school standout in 2004.
He logged heavy innings while pitching for the Hanwha Eagles in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO). He tossed 201 2/3 innings as a rookie sensation in 2006, en route to capturing both the MVP and the Rookie of the Year awards. Ryu threw a career-high 211 innings in 2007.
He pitched 182 2/3 innings in 2012, his final KBO season. In all, he left South Korea having thrown 1,269 innings in seven seasons. He has also pitched in the KBO playoffs and international competitions, including the Asian Games, the Olympics and the World Baseball Classic.
Ryu threw 192 innings in his first MLB season. He was limited to 152 innings last year because of shoulder problems.