Ryu Hyun-jin (36-Toronto Blue Jays), who was replaced after being hit in the knee by a hard hit ball, will be back in the starting rotation, and it will be interesting to see if he will have a two-hitter with outfielder Mike Tuckman (33-Chicago Cubs) of the Hanwha Eagles of the KBO League.

According to local media, including the ‘Toronto Sun’ on the 11th (below), Hyun-jin Ryu will make a final physical check by pitching out of the bullpen at Wrigley Field in Chicago on the 12th and then start against the Cubs on the 14th. The Toronto club also announced Jose Berrios, Chris Bassitt and Hyun-jin Ryu as the starting pitchers for the three-game series against the Cubs on Dec. 12-14 in the club’s game notes before the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Nov. 11.

Ryu pitched a no-hitter in Cleveland on Aug. 8, striking out four and walking two, but was hit on the inside of his right knee with two outs in the fourth inning by a 97.7-mile-per-hour (157.2-kilometer) fastball from Oscar Gonzalez. He was stunned when he was hit, but picked up the ball off his back and threw to first base for the final out of the inning.

After falling to the ground in excruciating pain, Ryu was unable to get up for a long time. After being helped into the dugout by Toronto manager John Schneider and a trainer, Ryu was relieved to learn that it was just a bruise. The next day, the swelling went down and he showed monster resilience.

He’ll be back on the mound against the Cubs on Wednesday if there are no issues with his bullpen pitching. As of Nov. 11, the Cubs were 59-56 (.513 winning percentage), good for second place in the NL Central and the fourth wild-card spot. Despite not being considered postseason material before the season, the Cubs have a strong offense, ranking eighth out of 30 teams in both team batting average (.256) and OPS (.754).

First baseman Cody Bellinger, who was released by the Los Angeles Dodgers as a non-tender, is batting .927 with 17 homers, 56 RBIs, and a .927 OPS, and shortstop Dansby Swanson, a big-money free agent signing, is batting .783 with 17 homers, 55 RBIs. Second-year designated hitter Christopher Morel (26-for-68, 18 homers, 55 RBIs) has improved, and third baseman Patrick Wisdom has a team-high 19 homers and a .781 OPS.

Add to that the performance of outfielder Tuckman, who has been in the big leagues since mid-May after signing a minor league deal last winter. Tuckman, who played for Hanwha in the KBO last year but was not re-signed and returned to the U.S. after being called up due to Bellinger’s injury, has been a revelation, hitting .821 with seven home runs, 41 RBIs and an OPS of .821 in 66 games. He’s been strong at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two home runs, 33 RBIs and a .967 OPS, while also contributing offensively with his range in center field.

Since Bellinger’s return from injury, Tuckman has kept his roster spot. However, he has been out of the lineup when left-handed pitchers have started recently, so it remains to be seen if he starts against Toronto on April 13 when Ryu Hyun-jin is scheduled to start. Tuckman, in his sixth major league season, has yet to face Ryu. He left the game against the Dodgers on Aug. 24, 2019, when he was with the New York Yankees.

Ryu and Tuckman share a common denominator in that they are from the same Hanwha team. They even played together during spring training last February against Geoje. With no spring training in the U.S. due to the prolonged Major League Baseball lockout, Ryu stayed in Korea and worked out at the Hanwha camp. It will be interesting to see if the two former Hanwha players, who are also old friends, will go head-to-head. 먹튀검증