There might come a time this season when Hyun-Jin Ryu will be welcome to pitch the eighth inning. Or, frankly, there might not.
Ryu has not lasted beyond seven innings in four years, in a game so long ago that Andre Ethier was the Dodgers' center fielder and Cuban prospect Erisbel Arruebarrena, since banished by the organization, was the shortstop.
In the interim, Ryu tore up his pitching shoulder. Doctors rebuilt the anatomy, and Ryu rebuilt the strength, but "handle with care" remains the watchword for a pitcher whose fastball never was all that fast even when healthy.
The prudent approach paid dividends on Saturday, when Ryu worked seven shutout innings to tame the Washington Nationals and their more glamorous starter, Stephen Strasburg.
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