The Los Angeles Dodgers have pretty solid depth, particularly in their outfield and starting rotation, which came in handy in April. Heading into May, it appears they'll have to continue relying on that depth, because even with ace Clayton Kershaw due to come off the diabled list Tuesday, they'll still be down a starter with left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu going on the 15-day DL on Friday with shoulder inflammation.
Ryu allowed five earned runs in five innings during that start against the Colorado Rockies last Sunday and took his second loss of the season. Overall, he's posted a 3-2 mark with a 3.00 ERA. The splits, however, tell an odd story as Ryu has yet to allow a run during four road starts covering 26 innings. That includes his start in Australia on March 23. His home ERA is 9.00 over three starts and 13 innings.
The fact no MRI has been scheduled suggests the Dodgers are being cautious with Ryu, much the same way they have been with Kershaw after his back flared up following their return from Australia. In fact, Ryu says he had a similar situation while pitching in Korea and the remedy then was rest.
Encouraging, but the timing will still leave the Dodgers scrambling for a starter to replace Ryu on Sunday. No official announcement has been made, but Ken Gurnick of MLB.com expects Stephen Fife to get the call. He'll be their second spot starter in three days after Red Patterson was called up to start the second half of Thursday's doubleheader in Minnesota.
They hope they'll be getting a more stable reinforcement when Kershaw returns on Tuesday to face the Washington Nationals. Kershaw was officially placed on the DL on March 29 — his first DL stint in seven seasons — with inflammation of the teres major muscle in his upper back. Given how unpredictable back injuries can be, it might take a couple starts before everyone feels Kershaw is back to 100 percent.
He made one start in Australia, allowing one run over 6 2/3 innings to pick up a win.
Despite the statistical oddities, Ryu's firmly entrenched as one of the Dodgers' top three starters along with Kershaw and Zack Greinke. They'll definitely miss Ryu's presence for as long as he's out, but getting Kershaw back will obviously help keep things on track.
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