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Hyun-jin Ryu unworried, Dodgers relieved with MRI results

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Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- In 2014 the Dodgers were without the services of Hyun-jin Ryu three different times, including twice with inflammation in his left shoulder. Both times with the shoulder injury, Ryu like clockwork returned to the mound 24 days after his last start. It might take a little bit longer this time, but the news on Tuesday could have been a lot worse.

"I thought it was pretty good news that the MRI didn't show any changes," manager Don Mattingly said on Tuesday. "It was as good as it can be."

MRI results on Tuesday showed no structural damage in Ryu's left shoulder, which was the same condition it was in when the Dodgers signed him in 2012. Ryu will be shut down for two weeks before he is reevaluated and a throwing program is determined.

Ryu, who turned 28 on Wednesday, said he wasn't worried while awaiting the results of the MRI.

"I wasn't too worried. It's very similar pain to last year," Ryu said, through an interpreter. "I'm focused on the next two weeks, getting my condition back."

Ryu in 2014 was on the disabled list for shoulder inflammation after his April 27 start. He pitched again on May 21. He was sidelined again with shoulder inflammation after a September 12 start, and he next pitched on October 6, in Game 3 of the NLDS. In both cases Ryu returned without the need of a minor league rehabilitation start.

If we use that same timetable this year, 24 days after his last start, on March 17, would be April 10, the Dodgers' fourth game of the season. If we use Sunday as the starting point since that's when Ryu felt something playing catch, we are looking at April 15, one day after the Dodgers would first need a fifth starter.

It is premature to expect Ryu to return again under this timetable, but the one thing we do know is that he will start the season on the DL. For someone who threw four bullpen sessions before reporting to spring training, then showed up to camp in the best shape of his career in an effort to reach 200 innings for the first time, this is a setback.

"I felt a little frustration, but now is the main time so I just want to focus on getting ready," Ryu said.