Dodgers to proceed with caution following Hyun-Jin Ryu’s MRI result.

Hyun-Jin Ryu

Hyun-Jin Ryu’s MRI came back clean, but the left-hander has been shut down for two weeks following a bout of shoulder inflammation. (Associated Press photo)

First, the good news.

The Dodgers announced that a contrast MRI on Hyun-Jin Ryu’s left shoulder revealed no change from a 2012 MRI on the same shoulder.

Absent a clearly defined medical reason for the pain he felt while throwing Saturday, Ryu will be shut down for two weeks, after which he will be re-evaluated.

Therein lies the bad news: Ryu won’t resume throwing until April 4 — two weeks since he last played catch and two days before Opening Day.

As manager Don Mattingly explained Monday, the Dodgers will only need a fifth starter twice before April 24. Presumably, Ryu would only miss two starts if he can build his arm strength back up in the intervening three-plus weeks.

The Dodgers can pick and choose from a number of options — Joe Wieland, Chad Gaudin, Carlos Frias, Mike Bolsinger, Zach Lee — for those two spot starts.

Early in spring training, Ryu set a goal of pitching 200 innings for the first time in three seasons with the Dodgers. That will be difficult if not impossible if he doesn’t debut until the final week of April.

Clayton Kershaw made 27 starts last year despite missing all of April (including his Opening Day assignment in March in Sydney, Australia). After not missing a start and regularly pitching past the seventh inning, Kershaw accumulated 198 ⅓ innings by the end of the season.

But an innings-pitched benchmark is arbitrary, and the Dodgers will likely take their time with Ryu, who was sidelined on separate occasions last year by a strained muscle in his buttocks and a similar bout of shoulder inflammation. Ryu still managed a 3.38 earned-run average (2.59 FIP) and a 14-7 record in 26 starts.

This entry was posted in JP on the Dodgers, Spring Training and tagged , by J.P. Hoornstra. Bookmark the permalink.

About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.