Ryu in better spring shape second time around

Ryu in better spring shape second time around

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A 14-win rookie season for Hyun-Jin Ryu pretty much put a rough Spring Training debut in the rearview mirror, but not for Ryu.

The left-hander remembered huffing and puffing his way through early conditioning drills and wasn't going there again.

So a fitter Ryu took the field for Sunday's first workout. Two weeks ago, Ryu said he was "underprepared" last year after a harried contract negotiation, vowing he would be in better shape this time around.

"All kidding aside," Ryu said Sunday, "last year was trying with the contract, and I didn't' get a head start. I've had more time to prepare this year."

Ryu, listed at 255 pounds by the team, said he's "significantly lighter compared to last year," but "only I know" how much lighter.

Ryu did give an assist to teammates Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke for the examples they set.

"Absolutely, working hard is very contagious," he said. "My teammates definitely push me. At the end of the day, you have to do it yourself. I just try to be in the best shape I can. I'm an athlete; it's my job to be in the best condition."

Ryu said he's more comfortable this spring, having gone through a Major League training camp.

"I know the faces, I have close friends here," he said. "The first day doesn't feel like the first day like last year, when I didn't know anybody."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.