The schedule called for Hyun-Jin Ryu to throw a light bullpen session Monday morning, and the left-hander completed the assignment without incident. He took the mound after three days off, a concession to the shoulder surgery that cost him all of 2015 and a hint at how his employers will handle him this spring.
The Dodgers will practice caution as Ryu returns in 2016. Before the workout, Manager Dave Roberts suggested Ryu is about two weeks behind his teammates “give or take a couple weeks.”
The team intends to use Ryu in Cactus League games, but has not revealed a target date for his spring debut.
“He’s certainly behind,” Roberts said at Camelback Ranch. “And that’s by design, in the sense that we don’t want to push him.”
Despite the caveat, the uncertainty with Ryu suggests it would be doubtful to expect him to be ready for the first week of the season. The organization would more likely lean upon other in-house options like Alex Wood or Mike Bolsinger until Ryu demonstrates he can return.
“We’ve added depth,” Roberts said. “To expect him to throw 200 innings coming off surgery is unrealistic.”
Ryu, 28, logged 192 innings in 2013 and 152 innings in 2014. He has a 3.17 career earned-run average.
Resolutions on Yasiel Puig could come soon
Commissioner Rob Manfred reiterated that he is close to announcing the disciplinary punishment on two of the three cases of domestic violence being investigated by MLB.
Yasiel Puig is the subject of one of the investigations, along with New York Yankees reliever Aroldis Chapman and Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes.
Manfred declined to specify which two cases he has decided.
Kenta Maeda and Dave Roberts exchange gifts
During their meeting Sunday afternoon, Kenta Maeda exchanged omiyage, the traditional Japanese gifts, with Roberts.
Maeda offered Roberts a box of crackers that Roberts ate as a child growing up in Okinawa. Roberts countered by giving Maeda a baseball to help Maeda adjust to life away from Nippon Professional Baseball.
“The ball is a little different, so I wanted him to mess with the baseball away from the ballpark and get familiar with it,” Roberts said.
Farhan Zaidi speaks highly of Andre Ethier
Andre Ethier, who was second on the Dodgers in on-base plus slugging percentage last season, will earn a no-trade clause in April if he remains with the team as part of his 10-and-five rights.
Ethier has often been the subject of trade rumors in recent years, but General Manager Farhan Zaidi downplayed the team’s interested in shipping out Ethier.
“When a guy is an important and productive part of your team, you don’t spend your time worrying about whether you can trade him,” Zaidi said.
Hair to stay
Don’t expect Roberts to follow the example of Don Mattingly, his predecessor as manager, when it comes to grooming policies. Now the manager of the Miami Marlins, Mattingly has banned facial hair among the team’s players.
The news made Roberts smile. The Dodgers will not implement a similar policy.
“To each his own,” Roberts said. “I think that every organization is different. Certain managers and organizations pick their battles and have certain things they want to stand by. I hope it works out for them.”
Even so, Roberts does not plan to grow back his goatee. Too many gray hairs, he explained.