Saturday, May 28, 2022

Surging Blue Jays place lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu on 10-day injured list with neck tightness

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The red-hot Toronto Blue Jays placed erstwhile ace Hyun-Jin Ryu on the 10-day injured list with neck tightness, the team announced Sunday. The move is retroactive to Saturday. Lefty Tayler Saucedo was called up in a corresponding move, and it’s unclear how long Ryu will be sidelined.

Ryu, 34, has really struggled the last few weeks, allowing 33 runs in 36 2/3 innings in his last eight starts. Opposing batters have hit .295/.340/.544 against Ryu in those eight starts. Prior to this recent skid, the veteran southpaw owned 3.22 ERA in 21 starts and 123 innings. These last eight starts are the worst stretch of Ryu’s MLB career.

The Twins punished Ryu for five runs (and two home runs) in two innings Friday. Toronto will need to come up with a fill-in starter this coming Wednesday, Sept. 22, against the Rays. That could be the only start Ryu misses thanks to scheduled off-days. Swingman Ross Stripling is a candidate to make that spot start, unless the Blue Jays go with a bullpen game.

Even with Ryu sidelined, the Blue Jays still have three above-average starters in trade deadline pickup José Berríos, rookie Alek Manoah, and Cy Young candidate Robbie Ray. Steven Matz is a solid back-end option as well. That said, losing Ryu is a blow no matter how much he’s struggled lately. He could turn it around at any moment and be excellent.

This is Year 3 of Ryu’s four-year, $80 million contract. He finished third in the Cy Young voting last season, though he has a long injury history, including previous neck issues in 2019. Ryu also has missed time with shoulder and elbow problems over the years.

The Blue Jays have won 17 of their last 21 games to move into the second wild card spot. They’re one game behind the Red Sox for the first wild card spot, and a half-game up on the Yankees for a postseason spot in general. 

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