MLB News: Toronto Blue Jays Ace To Miss Rest Of Season

Hyun Jin Ryu pitching
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Tristin McKinstry

The Toronto Blue Jays currently sit second place in the AL East at 36-25. Their season got off to a bit of a slow start, but the team has since rebounded. However, the club took a major blow on Tuesday.

Left-handed pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu underwent surgery to repair a damaged ligament in his elbow, and will miss the rest of the season, the team announced.

A Rough Year

A sign outside of the Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays
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Ryu's 2022 season was a tough one. He went 2-0 with a 5.67 ERA in six starts. The 35-year-old went to the injured list twice this season and had been on the injured list since June 2.

“I always say, when you lose somebody like that, somebody has to step up so that we can continue to have the season that we’re having, and Stripling’s doing that, which is great,” manager Charlie Montoyo said, via The Athletic.

A Leader From Day 1

Hyun Jin Ryu pitching as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
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Ryu joined the Blue Jays as a free agent following the 2019 campaign, signing a four-year $80M contract. The former Los Angeles Dodger immediately stepped into the Jays clubhouse and became a leader.

“He’s such a good guy, everybody loves him. And he’s always smiling and having fun with everybody and I’ve never seen him in a bad mood," Montoyo added. "Even if he had a tough outing or something, he was always the same guy. You got to appreciate that about Ryu. Really good teammate.”

“Ryu is extremely competitive. And I think everyone sees that, learns from it, enjoys watching it, embracing it,” Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said.

The Best Path Forward

Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays
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Atkins mentioned that there were "chronic changes" to the ligament in question. This isn't a case of one pitch being the issue. This is an issue that has been building over the years as Ryu has continued to throw as he has.

“Over time, that stretching and pulling makes the tightness occur and loss of dexterity or feel to execute his pitches or really finish them,” Atkins said.

“He, I think, got to the point where he said, I just want to compete as quick as humanly possible and felt like this was the best thing to do that and focused on doing that for us,” Atkins added.

What's Next?

A picture from inside the Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays
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Ryu's recovery is expected to take around 12 to 15 months. This ends his 2022 season but also calls into question his status for 2023.

Ryu is 35 years old. Recovering from this type of injury is already difficult, but it's even more difficult when your body has gone through years of wear and tear. And Ryu has been a professional baseball pitcher since 2006 when he joined the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization. Furthermore, Ryu's contract with the Jays is up after the 2023 season, meaning his time north of the border may be nearing its end.

Overall, the Jays have lost a valued member of their clubhouse and rotation. And it'll be tough to replace what Ryu brought to the team.

“When he took the mound, he gave us a chance,” Montoyo said. “Even his last outing (when) he was throwing 87, 86 (mph) and found a way to go four innings, that tells you a lot about what kind of guy he is and what kind of pitcher he is.”