Hyun-Jin Ryu's downtime still not considered a setback

Hyun-Jin Ryu hasn't thrown in eight days, but the Dodgers insist he hasn't had a setback. Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Los Angeles Dodgers have not backed off of a potential May return for starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu, yet every day he does not pitch in camp makes his targeted 2016 debut look less likely.

Ryu was not scheduled to throw for an eighth consecutive day Saturday as he deals with soreness that developed during his rehab program for shoulder surgery last year. Ryu had two light bullpen sessions when spring training started, but he hasn’t thrown since.

The Dodgers are not calling the situation a setback, exactly, and they are not saying that Ryu has been shut down. Manager Dave Roberts characterized it as taking advantage of some flexibility in the rehab program.

“The staff had a built-in, kind of a back-off period where they could just kind of back off and pick it up again,” Roberts said. “But there is no date when he will start throwing again. But I have asked them, and it’s definitely not a setback; it’s kind of built in with his rehab.”

Ryu also described it earlier this week as a planned period of rest and did admit to soreness, but described it as of the muscle-building variety.

“I’m very happy and satisfied with the timetable they have given me,” Ryu said through an interpreter Wednesday. “They have given me time to rest and they have planned all this out.”

The issue, it seems, is that if the rest is all part of the plan, then why isn’t there a planned date to pitch again?

“You know what, they still don’t want to put a date on when he might be back on a mound, but I know that I have assurances that this is part of the process,” Roberts said.