“Sho-Time” no more?
An MRI on the elbow of right-handed pitcher and designated hitter Shohei Ohtani confirmed more damage to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). The Los Angeles Angels announced Wednesday that Tommy John surgery is recommended for the rookie.
“There’s a lot of consulting that Shohei will do with doctors and just see what the best course of action is, and we’ll see where we are,” manager Mike Scioscia said via ESPN.
Earlier in the season, Ohtani was diagnosed with a sprained UCL. Initially, this threatened his multi-position endeavor. At first, he was treated with a platelet-rich plasma injection and an injection of stem cells. By July, Ohtani returned to hit, and on Sunday, returned to the mound. He lasted 2.1 innings in a 4-2 loss to the Houston Astros.
Despite his injury, Ohtani will join the club for its trip to Chicago over the weekend. He is cleared to hit. For what it’s worth, GM Billy Eppler said the Angels still consider Ohtani as a two-way player, according to MLB.com.
Meanwhile, the Angels are no longer in contention. They’re 68-72 and 19 games back of first in the division. This makes it seem more likely that Ohtani (and the team) would opt for surgery. Ohtani has been able to hit for power the past couple of games (home runs on back-to-back nights). Naturally, he went 4-for-4 with two home runs Wednesday night against the Rangers. But how much longer will it be before he’s unable to hit too? Or more damage is done?
It will be up to the Los Angeles Angels and the phenom to decide the best route for the long run. His pitch velocity has been on the decline, and he’s only been able to provide minimal innings for the Angels. Ohtani signed with the Angels in December 2017 to a six-year contract. It’d be in their best interest to keep Sho-Time around in Los Angeles — even if that means he’s only a position player.