‘Original national ace’ Ryu Hyun-jin supports Hangzhou AG’s gold medal-winning juniors

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu, 36, has spoken out about generational change in baseball.

After successfully returning from Tommy John surgery with a 3-3 record and a 3.46 ERA in 11 games (52 innings) this season, Ryu returned home via Incheon International Airport on April 18. In an interview after his return, he said, “I promised myself that I would come back in the second half of the season, and I’m glad I kept my promise.”

After undergoing Tommy John surgery (elbow ligament splicing) in June last year, Ryu surprised everyone with his successful comeback after rehabilitation in about 13 months. “I don’t want to evaluate this season, but I think I did a good enough job just coming back,” said Ryu, who emphasized, “It’s unfortunate that I didn’t get to pitch in the postseason this year. I was preparing for the Wild Card Series and beyond, so I wanted the team to win, but it didn’t happen and the season ended. Still, I have no regrets about fall baseball,” he reflected on the season.

One of the best ace pitchers in the KBO, Ryu Hyun-jin has always been a national ace before moving on to the major leagues. From the 2006 Asian Games in Doha to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2009 World Baseball Classic (WBC), and the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, he has been on the mound for his country.

After Ryu, the South Korean baseball team hasn’t had much success. At the WBC in March of this year, the team was eliminated in the first round for the third straight tournament. However, at the Hangzhou Asian Games in September, the team won the gold medal as part of a generational change that included players under the age of 25 or in their fourth year of professional baseball.

“I didn’t see the whole game,” said Ryu, “but I saw the highlights. I think the younger players got a valuable gift of a gold medal by going to the international tournament, and I think this win will help them a lot because they are the ones who will continue to 안전놀이터 lead Korean baseball in the international tournament,” he said, encouraging the juniors who won the Asian Games gold medal.

After completing his contract with Toronto, Ryu Hyun-jin is likely to remain in the major leagues next year. However, Korean baseball fans, including Hanwha fans, are hoping that Ryu will return to Korea and finish his final season in the KBO. “My desire to finish my career with Hanwha hasn’t changed. Of course I will,” he said, promising a reunion with Korean fans.

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