Blue Jays lefty Hyun Jin Ryu was slated to undergo an MRI this morning after he exited last night’s game with recurring forearm tightness, manager Charlie Montoyo told reporters (Twitter link via TSN’s Scott Mitchell). It doesn’t seem there’ll be an official update on Ryu today, as Montoyo now says that Ryu is still being evaluated (Twitter link via Shi Davidi of Sportsnet). It’s likely that Ross Stripling will take Ryu’s next turn in the rotation, however.
It’s the second forearm issue of the season for the 35-year-old Ryu, who has struggled to a 5.33 ERA through just six starts and 27 innings thus far in 2022. Ryu spent about a month on the injured list with what the team termed forearm inflammation, and a recurrence and subsequent round of imaging is an obvious cause for concern. Montoyo told Mitchell and others that Ryu appears to be dealing with “kind of the same thing he had last time,” which doesn’t instill much confidence.
Should Ryu require another absence, the Jays are at least stocked to withstand the loss. Offseason signee Kevin Gausman and Alek Manoah have pitched with top-of-the-rotation results, while newcomer Yusei Kikuchi has been solid of late in the middle of the group. Last year’s marquee deadline pickup, Jose Berrios, has struggled through his first full season in Toronto despite his status as one of the AL’s most consistent performers in recent seasons. Stripling has pitched well in a swingman role and gives the Jays a better “sixth starter” option than most clubs currently have. Meanwhile, former top prospect Nate Pearson has embarked on a rehab assignment after a lengthy bout with mononucleosis.
Ryu is in the third season of a four-year, $80MM contract. His debut campaign in Toronto was nothing short of outstanding, as he started 12 games and pitched to a 2.69 ERA during the shortened 2020 season — good for a third-place finish in American League Cy Young voting. He was durable but less productive in 2021, taking the ball 31 times and notching a 4.37 ERA with a diminished strikeout rate over the life of 169 frames.