The matchup between Ryu Hyun-jin (Toronto Blue Jays) and Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels) has been canceled. Toronto manager John Schneider made it official on Friday (July 25).
Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet Canada breaks down the reasons for the decision: it’s too much to ask of a pitcher returning to the majors after Tommy John surgery and rehabilitation to face Ohtani right away; it’s better for the starting rotation if Ryu skips the Angels’ three-game series as Toronto enters a 17-game stretch; and it’s easier to manage the 40-man roster if he returns after the trade deadline (next month). 꽁머니지급
After a three-game series against the Angels, Toronto will host the American League East-leading Baltimore Orioles for a four-game series from April 1-4. The Jays then wrap up their 17-game road trip with a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox from May 5-7, a four-game series against the Cleveland Cavaliers from May 8-11, and a three-game series at home against the Chicago Cubs from May 12-14.
Ultimately, the most likely return game is a four-game home series against Baltimore. Procrastinating any longer is not looking good either. Once the trade deadline passes, you can start thinking about a two- to four-game set. If you go straight to a two-game set, you’re looking at Boston on the 7th and the Chicago Cubs on the 12th.
This creates some interesting matchups. Boston is in last place in the American League East, but they have Rookie of the Year candidate Masataka Yoshida, who is second in batting (.315 through 25 days). Ryu could face Yoshida for the first time ever.
And the Cubs have Cody Bellinger, who was a one-and-done with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Bellinger has had a spectacular resurgence in a Cubs uniform this season after being virtually written off by the Dodgers. In 68 games through 25 days, he’s batting .319 with 14 homers, 44 RBIs, and a .918 OPS. The two have yet to go head-to-head.
The variable is Bellinger’s tradeability. Bellinger has been talked about as a possible surprise move ahead of the trade deadline. The Cubs also have Mike Tuckman, who played for the Hanwha Eagles in 2022, and Japanese slugger Seiya Suzuki.
If Ryu’s return is scheduled for three or four days, he could skip Boston and return to Cleveland for either a series against the Cubs or a home doubleheader against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 16-17. It’s also possible that his return could be a five-game series against Boston. In many ways, Ryu’s return will set up a number of storylines.