2/16/2013 6:25 P.M. ET
Ryu trying to get leg up in Dodgers camp
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- If you've been following Hyun-Jin Ryu's first week in Dodgers camp carefully (and the entire nation of Korea apparently has), you'll know that he won't be running track for the South Korea Olympic Team if this baseball gig doesn't pan out.
He's got a $62 million left arm and he'll be appearing in the Dodgers' second exhibition game on Feb. 24 (Zack Greinke starts), but Ryu has struggled in running conditioning drills.
Apparently, he's out to change that. Ryu picked up the pace and crept into mid-pack on Saturday. In interviews after his second bullpen session, he made sure everybody knew, as if he's been sandbagging.
"I didn't come in last today," Ryu said through an interpreter. "I'm improving. Everybody is very impressed. I think it's my time to show how I really run."
Manager Don Mattingly was more focused on Ryu's pitching, standing in the batter's box to get a hitter's view of his new starter. The closest comparison he could make was former Dodgers lefty Sid Fernandez.
"The motion is subtle and the ball comes out easy," he said. "It catches you off-guard. It's a little different to time."
Mattingly saw only five pitches and all were fastballs, while Ryu acknowledged it was a little unnerving to have his manager in the box during a 50-pitch bullpen session.
"I was a little anxious. I'm not fully used to the ball yet," Ryu said. "Not just me, Other pitchers thought the ball was a little slick today."
Ryu was unhappy with a soft landing spot on the mound and went to a firmer one to complete his session, throwing effective changeups but struggling when mixing in curveballs. He will get two days off, then throw live batting practice.
"It wasn't bad at all," Ryu said. "Ten more pitches than the first time, I moved forward. I haven't thrown much of the curveball, but the changeup and fastball were pretty good." He said the goal for his first start is not to walk anybody.
"I'm not out to prove a point right away," Ryu said. "Getting closer to the regular season when I'm up to four or five innings, I'll get in more of a competitive mode. Until then I'm just adjusting to everything."
He joked around with third baseman Luis Cruz, who has reached out to make Ryu feel comfortable. While Korean media members were interviewing Cruz, Ryu reached in with a microphone and asked a question in Korean about a ping-pong challenge.
"I remember the first time in the States and I didn't speak English, and it doesn't feel good," said Cruz, a native of Mexico. "He's a good guy and I want to help him out. I know how he feels."
"We don't speak the same language," Ryu said of Cruz, "but he cares and he takes care of me. It's a good fit."
Mattingly, Dodgers stay focused on prep work
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With expectations sky-high after the radical upgrade of the roster, the Dodgers held their first full-squad workout on a sunny Saturday at Camelback Ranch.
Manager Don Mattingly tried to thread the needle in his initial address, striking a balance between fulfilling raised expectations while not pressing to accomplish it.
"We talked about Spring Training and what we have to do to get ready, and deal with what we have to deal with -- the expectations and our situation and what to count on," Mattingly said. "These guys are big boys, they know what they're doing."
Mattingly repeated that the expectations and outside preoccupation with chemistry is just "noise" to him.
"Expectations don't have anything to do with what we need to do to do it," he said. "The way I hear it, we're starting with the roof. You better put the foundation down first.
"The expectations, the noise is going to be there. Let's make sure we keep the focus on what we have to do to get ready for this year."
Jansen, Withrow miss workout with injuries
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers pitchers Kenley Jansen and Chris Withrow missed workouts on Saturday with injuries.
Jansen had an ingrown toenail on the big toe of his right foot, but he said he expects to be back on the field Sunday to make a bullpen session. He is coming off surgery to repair an irregular heartbeat and is expected to be the Dodgers' primary setup man for closer Brandon League.
Withrow's injury could be more serious, as he had back stiffness the day after his first bullpen session. It's a recurrence of a chronic problem that has contributed to his slow progression. Withrow, a first-round Draft pick in 2007, received a $1.35 million bonus.
Withrow, who is not expected to make the Major League staff this spring, ended last season on the disabled list with shoulder soreness and had a stint in the Puerto Rican Winter League canceled when he and his wife were involved in an auto accident in which their car flipped.
He was sidelined for three weeks with body soreness, but said he began his winter throwing program as he normally would in early December. He also participated in the Young Guns minicamp two weeks ago.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.