When the Los Angeles Dodgers spent more than $60 million to sign Korean lefty Hyun-jin Ryu this winter, they did so with the intention of using him as a starting pitcher. Teams don't spend that kind of money on middle relievers.
But manager Don Mattingly said Ryu's role has yet to be finalized this spring. There are eight veteran pitchers competing for five spots in the Dodgers' rotation. Two of those spots are locked up by former Cy Young winners Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.
"We talked about it being competitive for those spots and, obviously, a couple of those are kind of spoken for," Mattingly said. "You can't say there are four spots open. Obviously, he's in the mix and we'll see ... what he looks like."
Ryu has pitched just three innings so far this spring, allowing six of the 14 batters he has faced to reach base, five by base hit. One of those baserunners was Josh Hamilton, who clubbed a two-run home run off Ryu on Friday.