As the Los Angeles Angels wrap up their season with their last game on Sunday, they announced on Tuesday that pitcher Shohei Ohtani will need Tommy John surgery in the offseason.
This will likely mean Ohtani will not pitch again until 2020, but he can continue his role as designated hitter in the meantime. The rookie’s contribution will definitely be needed – he even went on a home run streak following the diagnosis of his pitching elbow.
The Tommy John surgery is necessary to repair the damage in the collateral ligament. His initial issue with his elbow started in 2017 with a UCL sprain. He sprained the anatomy of his elbow again in early June, but doctors attempted to solve the issue by injecting stem cells and platelet-rich plasma. He got back on the mound in a game against the Houston Astros on September 2nd. Ohtani was not able to last three innings without a significant decrease in his pitching ability.
Mike Scioscia, the manager of the Angels, said, per ESPN, “I think it was the proper decision Shohei made to have surgery, and the sooner the better… he’ll be able to hit, and I think he’s at peace with that… He wants to excel at both phases of the game. The fact he can’t pitch (next season), there is a little bit of a void. But he’ll be able to hit and focus on that.”
Dr. Neal Elattrache will do the surgery in L.A. next week. Originally from Japan, spectators have called him the “Japanese Babe Ruth” and he has recorded the fastest pitch by a Japanese player. Prior to his December 6th move up to the L.A. Angels, Ohtani played in the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan. Ohtani is a young and special type of player who is able to excel at pitching and hitting on different days. Great things are in store from him following his procedure.
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