Q&A: Jae-Kuk Ryu

If anyone was surprised to see Korean-born right-hander Jae-Kuk Ryu get the call-up to Chicago for his major league debut last month, it was Ryu himself.  &nbsp  &nbsp  &nbsp  &nbsp

Inside The Ivy: We talked a little yesterday about your most recent outing, but overall, how do you view the season you've had?

Jae-Kuk Ryu: At times, this year has seemed like really bad luck. Sometimes I have some quality starts and other times I don't. I really don't care about my record (2-5), just my pitches. I think I try a little too hard sometimes, so I've tried to relax a bit more and throw strikes.

Inside The Ivy: Has there been anything in particular you feel you've struggled with?

Jae-Kuk Ryu: No, nothing unusual, just the normal routines. It's a very long season. Sometimes when you're not feeling good on the mound, you have to really find yourself. I think it's the same this year as every other year for me.

Inside The Ivy: Last year was somewhat of a bounce-back year for you at Double-A after you'd bounced around the farm system in ‘04. You also returned to starting full-time. When you were relieving two years ago, did you imagine a return to starting one day?

Jae-Kuk Ryu: It was a part of the game, but I like to start. I tell the Chicago Cubs I want to start. I liked starting better because I have a certain amount of time to get ready and know when I'm going to pitch. But if they need someone at the major leagues, it's whatever the Cubs want from me.

Inside The Ivy: How comfortable would you be pitching in the bullpen as long as it got you a major league roster spot?

Jae-Kuk Ryu: It's really hard as a reliever. You don't know when you're going to throw on any given day. In 2004, I was a reliever, but they had me on a set schedule of what days I was going to pitch. I'd throw one day and get two off and so on. I knew when I'd pitch, but at the majors they don't know. For me, that would be pretty tough.

Inside The Ivy: Does the organization still see you as a starter?

Jae-Kuk Ryu: I don't know. I definitely hope so.

Inside The Ivy: This is now your sixth year with the organization. Take us back to 2003 when the incident with the osprey in Daytona was surrounding you. After it first happened, did you still envision staying on with this organization and eventually making your big league debut with them?

Jae-Kuk Ryu: Not really. It was my mistake. Some people say to me, "Is that you? Is this who you are?" I tell people, "No. It's just a mistake. It was my bad." It was stupid of me and I had to read a lot about it in the papers.

Inside The Ivy: How long did it take for you to get over what all was being said about you?

Jae-Kuk Ryu: After it happened, it really stung me. But a lot of Cubs fans sent me a lot of e-mail and said some good things to me. They told me not to worry about it and that I could overcome my mistake.

Inside The Ivy: So for the most part, they were supportive?

Jae-Kuk Ryu: Oh yeah.

Inside The Ivy: Was it a disappointment to get the call up to Chicago only to be sent right back in a couple of weeks?

Jae-Kuk Ryu: No, not really. I'm fine about it. I'll be back up there pretty soon I think.

Inside The Ivy: And you said you were surprised just to get the call up?

Jae-Kuk Ryu: It was very much a surprise. They didn't have a spot up there, so they called me up. All I asked my manager was: why me?

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