GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Hyun-Jin Ryu’s claim on a spot in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting rotation went from good to likely Saturday night after the South Korean left-hander tossed seven innings of one-hit ball in a 10-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
“It would very hard to say that he wouldn’t be in the rotation with the way he has pitched,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
After a rocky start Ryu retired 17 of 18 batters, including the last 11 he faced.
“I was not able to command my pitches the way I needed to at first,” Ryu said through an interpreter. “But as the innings went by, I was able to settle down.”
In the first, Ryu walked Chicago leadoff batter Alejandro De Aza and then allowed De Aza to score on a wild pitch. But after giving up a double to Tyler Flowers and a run on a sacrifice fly to Dewayne Wise in the second, Ryu was unhittable.
“I could feel a little more life in in my pitches, especially my fastball,” Ryu said. “Tempo, everything was good.”
Ryu even got the Dodgers’ first hit, a single to right field off Chicago starter Jake Peavy, who allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings.
“I was a little dumbfounded,” Ryu said. “I squared up and felt it. I was very happy, especially against a former Cy Young Award winner.”
Peavy, who won the Cy Young in 2007, said he got tired in the fifth but was happy with his work, which included five strikeouts.
“I just didn’t have enough to make some pitches,” he said. “Some infield hits, some balls late that found some holes. But I’m super-excited about the way the ball is coming out my hand. I felt very good with command.”
The Dodgers scored the go-ahead runs on a two-RBI double from Matt Kemp in the fifth. Kemp’s first double this spring, a shot to center field, scored Mark Ellis and Yasiel Puig.
Puig, a 22-year-old Cuban, subbed for Carl Crawford in left field in the fourth. Crawford was making his first appearance in the field this spring. His work in camp has been slowed by a nerve irritation in his left elbow. He had surgery on the elbow two days before he was obtained by the Dodgers on Aug. 25 from Boston.
Puig continued to create a buzz, just nine days before Opening Day on April 1 against the San Francisco Giants at Dodgers Stadium. Puig was 3 for 3 with a double and two singles.
“He almost looks like a big kid playing little league,” Mattingly said.
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