GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers got good news on Tuesday in that the MRI of Hyun-jin Ryu showed no structural damage in his left shoulder. But the left-hander is still expected to open the regular season on the disabled list.
The plan is for Ryu to rest and rehab for two weeks before being reevaluated to set up a throwing program.
Ryu was examined in Los Angeles by Dodgers team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Monday, and the contrast MRI showed no change in Ryu's shoulder from his original MRI when he signed with the Dodgers in 2012.
Ryu last pitched one week ago, on March 17 against the Rangers, and averaged just 87.9 mph, reaching 90 or 91 mph four times in three innings. Though after the game both Ryu and manager Don Mattingly downplayed the low velocity.
"I don't think there was any reason," Ryu said. "During the regular season my velocity picks up and drops, so I'm not really worried about that."
"I don't ever worry about his velocities. I've seen him anywhere from 88-93, and he seems to add on when he wants to," Mattingly said. "There is no real concern about his velocity."
The next day Ryu complained of soreness in his left shoulder, and received an anti-inflammatory injection which shut him down for three days. Then, after saying he felt 100 percent after the injection, Ryu tried to play catch on Sunday but shut it down after feeling discomfort again.
"Hyun-jin wasn't great today. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great," Mattingly said on Sunday. ""I saw the look on his face, and it wasn't typical Hyun-jin."
Ryu dealt with shoulder inflammation twice during the 2014 season, and in both cases missed just over three weeks. Both times saw Ryu return to the mound 24 days after his previous start, without needing a minor league rehab start in between.
Such a timetable this time for Ryu would mean a start by April 10, though it seems like Ryu will miss more time than that.
The Dodgers don't need a fifth starter until April 14 at the latest, and could maneuver the rotation in such a way that they don't need a fifth starter again until April 25, the 17th game of the season.
If Ryu is unavailable by April 14, the Dodgers could recall one of Joe Wieland, Mike Bolsinger, Zach Lee or Carlos Frias from Triple-A Oklahoma City for a start, or in theory turn to David Huff or Chad Gaudin — one of whom could make the opening day bullpen as a swing man — for a single spot start.
Mattingly has said the club is leaning toward carrying an extra position player on the bench than carrying an extra relief pitcher should Ryu open the regular season on the disabled list.
"We've been talking back and forth about how we structure that," Mattingly said Monday.