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Rehabbing Ryu on the verge of rejoining Dodgers

PHOENIX -- Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu said he came out of a simulated game on Friday in good shape, but manager Don Mattingly wasn't ready to confirm that the left-hander would return to the starting rotation next week in New York.

Ryu, on the disabled list with left shoulder blade inflammation, threw four innings at the club's Camelback Ranch Spring Training complex, then an additional 15 pitches for a total of 75.

Mattingly said Ryu was "really good" facing Dodgers Minor League hitters, but that wasn't a surprise because Ryu impressed Mattingly on Tuesday with a 45-pitch bullpen session. A Minor League rehab assignment has never been considered necessary for Ryu.

Ryu's return will create a pitching surplus for the Dodgers if nobody is injured between now and then. Paul Maholm is lined up to start Wednesday night in New York, and it would figure that Ryu replaces him in the rotation.

Mattingly hinted that Maholm would move to the bullpen as a long reliever. Only Jamey Wright and Brandon League have been used in that role. That could free up League to be used in the later innings instead of Brian Wilson, who has struggled all season. But unless the Dodgers go with a 13th pitcher and a short bench, somebody will be forced out by Ryu's return.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for
Read More: Los Angeles Dodgers, Hyun-Jin Ryu