Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Support quality journalism
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
The Globe and Mail
Support quality journalism
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Globe and Mail website displayed on various devices
Just$1.99
per week
for the first 24 weeks

var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){console.log("scroll");var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1);

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu talks to the media after workouts at the team's spring training facilities Feb. 13, 2020, in Dunedin, Fla.

Steve Nesius/The Canadian Press

Ryu Hyun-Jin is now the clear ace of a major-league rotation – with all the pressure and responsibility that comes with that.

“We win games by having all the players put in their efforts,” Ryu said through a translator Thursday. “At the same time, I do realize the expectation and the weight that comes with this kind of contract and what the Blue Jays wanted, and I know exactly what the Blue Jays want from me.”

What Toronto needs is some stability in its rotation. The Blue Jays used 21 different starters last year, then made several additions in the off-season. Ryu was the most prominent acquisition, signing a four-year, US$80-million contract after finishing second in the National League Cy Young Award vote with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Story continues below advertisement

Ryu was the only NL pitcher to receive a first-place vote for the Cy Young besides winner Jacob deGrom, but pitching in Los Angeles, it was easy for the left-hander to be overshadowed by the likes of Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler. Ryu went 14-5 with a 2.32 ERA last season, but made only one appearance for the Dodgers in their five-game loss to Washington in the Division Series.

Now, Ryu is with a Toronto team that lost 95 games in 2019, but this is a chance for the South Korean standout to show he can remain among baseball’s elite starters.

Ryu, who turns 33 next month, began his recent ascent in earnest during the 2018 season, when he went 7-3 with a 1.97 ERA in 15 starts. He was limited by groin problems that year, and he accepted a US$17.9-million qualifying offer to stay with Los Angeles for 2019.

Last year, he made 29 starts and pitched 182 2/3 innings, his highest totals since 2013. He allowed only three runs in the entire month of May, and still had an ERA under 2.00 in mid-August.

Having answered at least some questions about his durability, Ryu says he’s trying to prepare for this season by repeating what’s worked in the past.

“I’m getting ready for the season gradually and not really forcing things,” he said Thursday, after the Blue Jays held their first workout for pitchers and catchers. “Making sure that my body’s ready to maintain certain types of workloads. I think I was able to do that pretty well, so I’m trying to do the same for this year.”

Toronto’s staff also includes several other new additions. Right-handers Tanner Roark and Shun Yamaguchi signed for two years, and the Blue Jays acquired right-hander Chase Anderson in a trade. An improved rotation could pay major dividends for a team that has plenty of young position players to be excited about.

Story continues below advertisement

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. doesn’t even turn 21 until next month, and fellow infielders Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio got good experience last season as well. Ryu gives Toronto a proven veteran on the pitching side.

“I was really excited when we got him, of course,” manager Charlie Montoyo said. “He was one of the best pitchers last year in baseball. When we got him, I was excited. We got an ace.”

So the Blue Jays are clear about their hopes for Ryu, who has pitched like an ace for much of the past two seasons. He might downplay the importance of that distinction a bit, but he’s aware of the expectations.

“On any given night,” he said, “going out on the mound and putting the team in a position where they can win.”

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies