Hyun-jin Ryu pitched into the fifth inning on Monday, and in the team's longest look yet at their $62 million import from Korea, the Dodgers are becoming more and more pleased with what they see.
Ryu actually took the loss as the Brewers used three fourth inning runs to defeat the Dodgers 3-2 at Maryvale Baseball Park, but it was his pitching that brought praise, and brought out the confidence in Ryu.
"The fourth inning, I wish I could get that back," Ryu said. "I only gave up one legitimate hit, but I still regret giving up runs."
Manager Don Mattingly and catcher A.J. Ellis were impressed with Ryu's stamina in his longest outing of the spring.
"He was good. A.J. says he holds his stuff too, and that's what I like to hear," Mattingly said. "When you hear from the catcher that he's still sharp and crisp as the pitcher keeps going, it's not like he's running out of gas."
Ryu allowed three runs on five hits and two walks, and struck out three batters in 4⅔ innings. He was pulled after reaching his pitch count limit.
"I'm getting a better feel for my breaking pitches, and overall command has improved as well," Ryu said. "My fastball is getting stronger is the innings go by."
The grip on the curve ball Ryu used on Monday was his old grip and not the one Sandy Koufax taught him, but that goes along with Ryu having success doing things his way and continuing that routine with the Dodgers, including not throwing bullpen sessions in between starts.
Ryu said his innings and pitch count limits will continue to progress according to plan as the spring wears on, and he expects to be able and ready to pitch deep into games by opening day.
For the first time since high school, eight years ago, Ryu got to bat on Monday. He laid down a sacrifice bunt in his second plate appearance, but in his first time to the plate he watched three called strikes go by.
"I thought those pitches were low," Ryu said, with a wry smile to a laughing audience.
Asked the best advice he has received this spring, Ryu said that pitching coach Rick Honeycutt told him, "Pitch according to your ability, and be confident."
Confidence is not lacking in Ryu.
He was asked if he had any doubts that he would succeed in the major leagues.
No questions whatsoever?
"You can tell this guy is able to know what he's doing. He's able to yo-yo guys, he's able to add and subtract," Mattingly said. "He's good."
- Josh Wall retired all four batters he faced on Monday, including two strikeouts. He has a 1.42 ERA in five spring contests, and has struck out nine of the 22 hitters he has faced, with no walks.
- Chris Reed, up from minor league camp, pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit with one strikeout in his third appearance of the spring.
- Yasiel Puig was 2-for-2 with a run scored. More on him later.
The Dodgers play a night game on Tuesday against the Reds in Goodyear. Josh Beckett will start for the Dodgers, and be followed by Ted Lilly, while Mat Latos starts for Cincinnati.