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Dodgers’ gamble with Ryu Hyun-jin paying off: paper

May 23, 2013 - 13:25 By Yoon Min-sik
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu, left, of Korea, and Korean pop artist PSY pose together after the Dodgers defeated the Colorado Rockies 6-2 in their baseball game on April 30, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP-Yonhap News)

Los Angeles Dodgers’s signing of pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin is turning out to be a successful investment, according to a U.S. paper.

In a recent article, the Los Angeles Times wrote that Dodgers and their scouts deserve credit for signing the South Korean.

“Ryu, 26, has demonstrated a calm confidence and command on the mound,” it said, adding that he has been “fairly phenomenal” in his first ever season in the top U.S. baseball league.

Ryu’s success was foretold by few, as he is the first player ever to make the jump from the Korean Baseball Organization to Major League Baseball. Ryu dominated the Korean league but many experts in Korea and U.S. alike raised questions on how he would cope with American hitters who are much bigger and stronger than Korean players.

Despite the skeptics, Ryu is having a solid rookie season at 5-2 with 3.30 ERA.

Ryu’s teammate A.J. Ellis told the L.A. times that he is “a guy who just knows how to win baseball games.” Ellis also said that Ryu is a “sneaky, really good athlete,” an assessment somewhat surprising to Korean fans, who affectionately call him “Ryu-ttung (Ryu-fatty).”

While Ryu’s first season in the big stage may be a success as an individual, his team is going through a disastrous run.

Less than halfway into the season, Ryu’s Dodgers have already plummeted to the bottom of the standings. Just four days ago, Ryu’s chance to record a win against Atlanta Braves were blown away when L.A.’s relief pitchers blew a 4-2 lead in the sixth inning.

From news reports