MAY 20: The Dodgers announced that Ryu will have an arthroscopic procedure tomorrow, to be performed by team surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache.
MAY 19, 11:45pm: Ryu has elected to undergo shoulder surgery, reports Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles. According to Saxon’s source, an MRI on Ryu’s shoulder didn’t reveal a tear or any obvious structural damage, so the surgery would be exploratory in nature — an attempt to determine the cause of the inflammation that has prevented him from pitching in 2015. Nevertheless, an operation of that nature would cast significant doubt on Ryu’s ability to pitch for the Dodgers this season and, as Saxon notes, could send the team into a full-scale search for starting pitching upgrades.
11:40am: A “shoulder cleanup” is likely, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets.
10:58am: Dodgers lefty Hyun-jin Ryu is weighing the possibility of a surgical option to solve his shoulder problems, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports on Twitter. While Passan notes that a report out of Ryu’s native Korea suggests surgery will take place this week, his sources say that a decision has yet to be made.
This development is the latest sign of trouble for Ryu, who has struggled to regain velocity as his shoulder has continued to prove problematic. Ryu has yet to pitch this year, and recent reports indicated that he did not even have a timetable to re-start a throwing program.
The 28-year-old experienced arm issues last year, but has been excellent when healthy. All said, he’s provided Los Angeles with 344 innings of 3.17 ERA pitching, with 7.7 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9, over the last two seasons.
The Dodgers signed Ryu for six years and $36MM out of Korea in the winter of 2012 after paying a $25.7MM posting fee. That contract has long looked like a steal, but will cost the team more in the coming seasons, as Ryu is owed $7MM annually from 2016-18. (Of course, that’s a relatively meager sum for the large-budget Dodgers.)
Of more immediate concern to Los Angeles, the prospect of an even longer absence from Ryu brings the team’s starting depth into further question. Major free agent addition Brandon McCarthy is already going to miss this year and much of next after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and the team is currently trotting out Mike Bolsinger and Carlos Frias as its fourth and fifth starters. While those pitchers have (somewhat surprisingly) provided excellent results to date, it would not be surprising to see the Dodgers play a significant role on the summer trade market.