February 22, 2016

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu is working his way back into shape after missing last year following shoulder surgery but can't say yet whether he will be ready for the start of the season.

Ryu, the Dodgers' No. 3 starter in 2013 and 2014, threw his second bullpen session of spring training Monday. He said his arm felt better than it did after his first session last Thursday.

''Compared to last Thursday, it was a very good day,'' Ryu said through an interpreter. ''As far as the velocity and control, my arm felt much better. From day to day, it pretty much feels the same. Hopefully, I just have to throw more. I'm thinking I better gain some more speed and different kind of pitches.''

Manager Dave Roberts said that ''by design'' the Dodgers have been careful not to work Ryu too hard in the early weeks.

The cautious regimen puts Ryu behind the rest of the staff as it prepares for opening day.

''I would say Hyun-Jin is certainly behind, maybe by a couple of weeks, give or take,'' Roberts said. ''It's just hard to say.''

Ryu's comeback is a key concern in the Dodger camp. After Clayton Kershaw, the starting rotation isn't clear. Brett Anderson, Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda are all projected as starters.

Depending on Ryu's availability, Alex Wood could be the No. 5 starter. After the Dodgers acquired Wood last summer from the Atlanta Braves in a three-team trade, he started 12 times, going 5-6 with a 4.98 ERA.

Ryu had a combined record of 28-15 with a 3.17 ERA over his first two seasons with the Dodgers.

Los Angeles shut him down after just two appearances in spring training games last year.

He went on the 60-day disabled list on May 4 after coaches detected a loss of velocity in his pitches. He later underwent surgery to alleviate persistent pain in his left labrum.

Roberts and Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers' president of baseball operations, said there's no pressure on Ryu to be ready at an early date. Upon his return, they want him to be a reliable starter without any lingering concern about his shoulder.

''We want him to be pitching in October, hopefully,'' Friedman said.

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