The Dodgers are ready to unveil and introduce Hyun-Jin Ryu to Los Angeles and its Korean community Tuesday, December 11th with a special appearance by the left-hander in Koreatown. You can see the new Dodger in the front plaza of Wilshire Boulevard from noon to 1 p.m. PT.
Monday afternoon, the Dodgers introduced Hyun-Jin Ryu in a press conference at
Dodger Stadium. Ryu signed a 6-year $36 million contract with the Dodgers, and he will wear number 99 with the team. The press event included many Asian media members, and Ryu stated that his aspirations were to put up double-digit wins, have an ERA in the 2 range, and to one day surpass the very first Korean native to pitch in the Majors, Chan Ho Park, in wins. Park holds the record for most wins by a Korean pitcher with 124 MLB victories. Ryu will become the fourth Korean pitcher for the Dodgers following Park, Hee-Seop Choi, and Jae Seo.
Ryu is an accomplished pitcher and seven-time all-star from the Korean Baseball League. Within his contract is a clause which states that he can be traded, but he cannot be sent down to the minor leagues without his approval. The 25-year old impressed the Dodger scouting department with his presence on the mound, and they are confident that he can make the transition to the Majors right away.
Bob Engle, the newly appointed President of International Scouting for the Dodgers, had this to say about Ryu:
“He’s built similar to David Wells. He definitely could come in and be a contributor to a Major League club immediately. He can reach back for just a little bit extra. He has real good mound presence. He has command of his pitches and of himself. He’s an accomplished, polished pitcher.”
Ryu will be slotted behind Zack Greinke as the number three pitcher in the Dodgers starting lineup. That means his Major League debut will most likely be on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 versus the Giants at Dodger Stadium.
If you are not familiar, Koreatown is a neighborhood in the Mid-Wilshire District of the city of Los Angeles about three miles west of Downtown and a little over 5 miles from Dodger Stadium. It is home to about 120,000 people in an area of less than three square miles which makes it one the most highly densely populated neighborhoods of Los Angeles and the U.S. I often enjoyed the restaurants in Chinatown and Koreatown while attending U.S.C. Let us know in the comments if you will be visiting Koreatown to see Ryu on Tuesday.
Ryu took over the Dodgers twitter account for a bit after the press conference ended Monday, and he had this to say about joining his new team:
“I wanted to join the Dodgers b/c of the history, and the large Korean community in LA. It will be an easy bridge to American culture.” -Ryu
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) December 10, 2012