Hyun-jin Ryu makes long-awaited return to Dodgers

The Korean Monster is due back on the Dodgers mound tonight against the San Diego Padres for the first time in two years.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu, who underwent surgery for his left shoulder from a torn labrum last year, has not started in the major league in 640 days.

Post-surgery, Ryu was on rehabilitation assignment in the minor league with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga. Some expected Ryu to return earlier, but he went through a groin strain and shoulder discomfort during spring training and rehab. Last Friday, he threw 84 pitches in six innings, with a fastball average of 86 mph.

Andrew Friedman, Dodgers president of baseball operations, told ESPN.com that Ryu “attacked the rehab process in a way that showed how much he wanted to get back.”

Ryu, speaking through an interpreter Monday, said he expects his fastball velocity – in the upper 80s in the minors – to increase, boosted by adrenaline, with his comeback to the big league.

“So far what I have accomplished as far as rehab goals, gaining all my pitches in quite a few outings, I think I’m pretty much ready to go,” he said.