Tough news for the Dodgers today, as the LA Times is passing along a report from South Korea that says Hyun-Jin Ryu may need season-ending shoulder surgery. That would end his 2015 campaign before it even started.
After making a couple of starts in Spring Training, Ryu was shut down due to "shoulder inflammation," which is basically saying that they hoped whatever was bugging him in his shoulder would go away with rest. Obviously, it hasn't.
Now the Dodgers are faced with one of two options: cut open the shoulder, see what's wrong, and perform the surgery; or keep resting him and hope for the best.
You get the feeling that the "rest" option is being thrown out the window, as he's been doing so since March, and it doesn't seem to be making any difference. As Dodgers' reporter Dylan Hernandez points out in the article linked above, shoulder operations are historically much riskier than elbow surgeries, so Ryu is reluctant to go under the knife.
The Dodgers are in first place by 4 1/2 games over the Giants in the NL West, but the concerns remain. Brandon McCarthy is already out for the season with Tommy John surgery, Brett Anderson hasn't gotten hurt yet like he usually does, and Clayton Kershaw has actually appeared human. They were hoping Ryu would come back and be that stud #3 starter, but that's looking increasingly unlikely.
In two MLB seasons, Ryu is 28-15 with a 3.17 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 293 K's in 344 IP. Those are some great numbers, but considering the workload he brought with him from Korea, perhaps it's not a surprise that his body is starting to fail him. That's a lot of pitches over the last few seasons.
We'll see if Ryu really does opt for surgery over time. Let's hope it doesn't come to that, and he is back in the rotation over the summer.
I'm just not counting on it.