Former Blue Jay Hyun Jin Ryu returning to South Korea’s Hanwha Eagles

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu (99) works against the Baltimore Orioles during first inning American League MLB baseball action in Toronto on Tuesday, August 1, 2023. (Nathan Denette/CP)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Former Blue Jays pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu has agreed to return to his former South Korean baseball club, becoming the most expensive player in the Korea Baseball Organization.

The 36-year-old Ryu signed an eight-year, 17 billion won ($12.8 million) contract to rejoin the Hanwha Eagles club, the Eagles said in a statement Thursday.

“Hanwha Eagles made me what I am today so I feel thankful to it,” Ryu said, according to the statement. “Since moving to the Major League, I’ve thought I would come back to Hanwha Eagles one day and return its favor … and I’m now happy that I can keep my word.”

Ryu is to leave for Okinawa, Japan on Friday to join the Eagles’ spring training camp, the club statement said.

Ryu, a left-hander, played six seasons for the Los Angeles Dodgers and spent four years with the Blue Jays. He recorded 78 wins and 48 losses with a 3.27 ERA in 10 major league seasons.

In a message posted Thursday on X, formerly known as Twitter, the Blue Jays said: “Thank you, Hyun jin Ryu. The Korean Monster in Toronto will be remembered for good.”

Ryu started his professional baseball career with the Eagles in 2006. On his debut season, he won both the MVP and Rookie of the Year titles. Ryu was 98-52 with a 2.80 career ERA during seven seasons in South Korea.

He pitched for his country on teams that won the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and reached the championship game of the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

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