The Dodgers could open the season without Hyun-jin Ryu after they shut down the left-hander because of tightness in his left shoulder.
Ryu received an anti-inflammatory injection but said he did not get an MRI examination. He sat out three weeks last season because of inflammation in his left shoulder but said the discomfort this time is less severe.
"On a scale of 1 to 10, it's a low 4," Ryu said through an interpreter. "Not too worried this time. It was just a little thing."
Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said the team would be careful in handling Ryu because he had a similar injury last season.
"Obviously, this is the second time," Mattingly said. "We want to be cautious and give him every chance to stay healthy."
Although the season starts April 6, the Dodgers would not need a fifth starter until April 14 – and not again until April 25.
That could give Ryu additional time to rebuild his strength. If he opens the season on the disabled list, the Dodgers’ options to replace him include Erik Bedard, Joe Wieland, Mike Bolsinger and Carlos Frias.
The injury could put additional pressure on the Dodgers’ bullpen, already weakened because closer Kenley Jansen will start the season on the disabled list as he recovers from foot surgery.
Ryu’s velocity dropped noticeably during his last start on Tuesday, but he said he did not experience the shoulder discomfort until Wednesday.
Ryu said he was discouraged by the injury because he had put particular emphasis on core conditioning and shoulder strengthening in his off-season workouts.
“I’m frustrated,” he said. “For this year, I had a lot of preparation. What can I do? I’ll just have to start all over.”
Ryu, who turns 28 next week, went 14-7 with a 3.38 earned-run average last season. He pitched 192 innings in 2013, his first season with the Dodgers, and 152 innings last season, and he had said he wanted to pitch 200 innings this season.
He said that goal might still be attainable. He said he hoped to resume throwing soon – the Dodgers said he would be evaluated again this weekend -- and said he believed he could make the opening day roster.
"We still have two more weeks," he said. "I don't think there's any major problem."
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