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Hyun-jin Ryu throws for first time since shoulder surgery

Harry How/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu threw off flat ground during Tuesday's workout at Dodger Stadium, an important milestone for the left-hander as it was his first time throwing since left shoulder surgery wiped out his 2015 season.

Ryu on Thursday played light catch off flat ground in the outfield, with a maximum distance of maybe 60 feet.

"He's got all winter through the throwing program and be ready for spring training," pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said. "It will be conservative at the early parts of it, and continue to build from there."

Ryu had arthroscopic surgery to repair a labral tear in his left shoulder on May 21, and was expected to be ready in time for spring training in 2016. Tuesday's throwing program was part of that plan.

"His arm was natural, and even though it was short distance it's a very positive step, with no pain. The progression has started. He's been working extremely hard, and he looks great," Honeycutt said. "We're really hoping the surgery was a success and he can bounce back from that and be extremely successful."

The Dodgers signed Ryu to a six-year, $36 million contract in December 2012, plus a $25.7 million bonus paid to the Hanwha Eagles to secure negotiating rights with the pitcher. Ryu has three years, $21 million remaining on the contract.

Ryu was the Dodgers' Game 3 starter in each of his first two seasons in Los Angeles, putting up a 3.17 ERA and 2.97 FIP in 56 starts in 2013-14.