GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Don't freak out at Hyun-Jin Ryu's Saturday performance or the 14.29 ERA he's been left with. His manager isn't."I thought Ryu was considerably better than the line," Roberts said after Ryu was charged with five runs on seven hits in three innings of the Dodgers' 5-2 loss
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Don't freak out at Hyun-Jin Ryu's Saturday performance or the 14.29 ERA he's been left with. His manager isn't.
"I thought Ryu was considerably better than the line," Roberts said after Ryu was charged with five runs on seven hits in three innings of the Dodgers' 5-2 loss to the White Sox.
"There was a double play that wasn't turned. Pitch count got up because of that. I thought there were some pitches he was squeezed. I thought he threw the ball well. Velocity was good. The change, cutter/slider, continues to improve. Happy he finished the third with a double play.
"Where he's at this year in Spring Training, where he was at the last couple of years, considerably ahead of it. A lot of good things today."
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Roberts said he made a mound visit when he sensed that Ryu was unhappy with the strike zone of plate umpire John Libka. He lasted one inning fewer than planned, but reached his pitch count of 60.
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"My command was better than my first outing," said Ryu. "There were a few unfortunate plays and the curveball I've been talking about this spring [with a tighter spin], I tried to incorporate it more in today's game than I would have during the season. During that process, they were able to make pretty good contact. It's a work in progress."
Two seasons removed from shoulder and elbow surgery, Ryu said he feels more confident with his health and his ability to pitch. That's a good thing, because as Roberts repeated before the game, the Dodgers came into the spring with less starting pitching depth than in recent years.
"Last year I had some doubts in my mind, but this year it's a full go," said Ryu. "Last year I didn't know how my body would react to certain situations, so I had some sort of doubt. But any pitcher that would come back from surgery or injury would feel the same way I did last year."
Ryu is the fifth starter in the rotation, coming off a season in which his 3.77 ERA was probably more indicative of his effectiveness than a 5-9 record. He made 24 starts and threw 126 2/3 innings, but was left off the postseason roster.
Franchise legend Steve Garvey is the latest guest instructor brought into Camelback Ranch and Roberts had him address the club in the morning meeting.
"He talked about his days as a batboy and getting a chance to batboy [for] the Brooklyn Dodgers and what it meant to him," said Roberts. "He captured the room and he nailed it. It was really cool for me to hear what he had to say. Really good stuff. The first time he'd been back in years."
Alvin Toles went 1-for-3 with a double and was thrown out trying to steal third; Joc Pederson started in center field and was 0-for-3; Enrique Hernandez started in left field and was 0-for-3 with a strikeout; Trayce Thompson started in right field and was 1-for-3 with a strikeout; Alex Verdugo came off the bench and walked in his lone plate appearance.
Injured reliever Tom Koehler has been freed from the device that kept his right arm at his side and said he is optimistic about rehab for a sprained right shoulder capsule.
"I'm headed in the right direction, for sure," said Koehler, who was signed as a free agent after the club lost Brandon Morrow. "I have a target date to be pitching. I won't say when it is, but I already have the series circled."
Koehler said one oddity of the injury is that he has felt no pain in everyday activities. It would only hurt if he pitched. He said the medical department has convinced him to rehab methodically in the beginning, and if it heals faster than expected, the timeline can be accelerated on the back end.
The club has not offered a timetable for Koehler's return, but he said he's hopeful it's weeks and not months away.
Clayton Kershaw starts against the Padres at Camelback Ranch and Minor Leaguer Manny Banuelos starts against Milwaukee at Maryvale as the Dodgers have split-squad games on Sunday. Both games start at 1:05 p.m. PT, and fans can watch both on MLB.TV.
Kershaw chose to pitch at home, even though it means facing a division rival. There's a chance he will face buddy and former teammate A.J. Ellis, who is fighting for a Padres roster spot. Ellis joked he's been working with Yasiel Puig on bat flips for when he takes Kershaw deep. Kershaw responded by suggesting Ellis make the team before he talks smack.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.