Ryu expects to be ready for Spring Training

Dodgers lefty reports no discomfort after shoulder surgery in May

Ryu expects to be ready for Spring Training

LOS ANGELES -- Hyun-Jin Ryu looked at the luge course carved out of artificial snow in the Dodger Stadium parking lot and was tempted to be a big kid and make a run.

Then he backed away, knowing nothing good could come from a Major Leaguer on a plastic saucer hurtling out of control onto asphalt.

Instead, Ryu signed autographs and posed for pictures at the club's annual holiday party for Southland school children, then offered an upbeat assessment of his recovery from surgery for a torn labrum in his left shoulder performed on May 21.

"I have no reason to believe I won't be ready for Spring Training," Ryu said.

"Other than throwing off a mound and going all out, I pretty much can do everything I want to do. I'm on a great program and everything is going great. No discomfort, absolutely nothing."

Ryu said he is playing catch up to 120 feet, restricted only by athletic trainers who want Ryu ready in February, not December.

"I feel so good, I feel I could do it stronger, but I trust the trainers and medical staff with what they tell me to do," he said. "I'm sure in time, I will get back on the mound."

Ryu, who turns 29 in March, said he leaves for Korea on Saturday, will return to Los Angeles in mid-January for one day and then head to Arizona for serious conditioning leading up to the start of camp.

Ryu was sidelined twice during 2014 with shoulder tenderness, but he came to Spring Training in 2015 with a stated goal of pitching 200 innings as the Dodgers' No. 3 starter. He wound up pitching none, except for five innings over two spring starts before being shut down with shoulder discomfort.

"My personal goal is to be in the rotation Opening Day until the season ends," Ryu said.

With the departure of Zack Greinke and the aborted signing of Hisashi Iwakuma, Ryu is tentatively the Dodgers' No. 2 starter behind ace Clayton Kershaw. But president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman concedes Ryu is a "wild card" coming off surgery.

So the Dodgers continue the search for starters. They have recently been linked in trade speculation for Carlos Carrasco or Danny Salazar of the Indians or Jake Odorizzi of the Rays, as well as free agents Mike Leake, Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda of Japan.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.