GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As the only Dodgers player who will actually be closer to his home when the team opens its season in Australia in a few weeks, Hyun-Jin Ryu offered some advice about adjusting to such a flar-flung time zone.
“The best thing to do is not to sleep during the day. No naps,” Ryu said through a translater. “There’s no secret formula.”
Ryu might need to heed his own advice, because after Zack Greinke left his first spring start with a strained right calf Thursday, Ryu’s chances of pitching at the Sydney Cricket Ground against the Arizona Diamondbacks increased considerably. In fact, it looks quite likely.
A native of South Korea, Ryu said he would do whatever manager Don Mattingly asks. If he wants him to pitch in Australia, great. If not, no problem.
Ryu started his spring off with two strong innings against the Chicago White Sox Friday.
The major challenge for Ryu will be avoiding a sophomore slump. He went 14-8 with a 3.00 ERA last season. Had he allowed one fewer run, he would have lived up to his stated preseason goal of pitching to a sub-3.00 ERA. But he won’t be sneaking up on teams any longer. Ryu was 10-3 with a 2.83 ERA in starts in which he was facing a team for the first time and 4-5 with a 3.30 ERA the second time through the league.
“I think they’re going to know his off-speed, how good his changeup is,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “It didn’t take that long, really. You could see teams trying to make adjustments last year.”
Ryu said his goal this season is to make every start. He missed a few starts last year with a foot injury and some general fatigue.