It’s no secret that Los Angeles Shohei Ohtani has been the story of the season. Or at the very least, one of the most riveting to follow.
But the two-way player will undergo Tommy John surgery next week for a UCL tear in his throwing arm. As we know, it’s a procedure that would normally leave pitchers out for an entire season. However, Ohtani is different. Because the rookie also moonlights as designated hitter, he has the ability to return to the field in 2019. That’s why he is remaining positive despite the situation.
“I am disappointed at the fact I am not going to be able to pitch next season but I’m trying to take positives out of negatives,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara after the game via to the LA Times.
The two-way phenom has known since September 5 that the possibility of Tommy John was likely. It wasn’t until 20 days later that the 24-year-old made the decision, though. Ultimately, he gave up pitching for the 2019 season. But as we mentioned before, hitting remains a different story.
As of now, there is not a timeline set for Ohtani’s return. Or even any guess as to whether he’ll be ready in April. But Ohtani has the luxury of making an early return to baseball. That’s a given.
“Normal players — players that only pitch or hit — wouldn’t be able to play at all next season,” Ohtani says. “But fortunately I have the luxury of being able to play as a hitter next season, so I’m just trying to take positive stuff out of that and try to help the team in as many games as possible as a hitter.”
Ohtani injured his elbow in June, then was sent to the disabled list with a Grade 2 UCL sprain. He would return to the mound for only one start in September, which is when the new damage was discovered.
The two-way player earned a 4-2 record with a 3.31 ERA and 62 strikeouts over 51.2 innings pitched this season. At the plate, he’s hitting .280 with 21 home runs and 56 RBI.