Two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani needs Tommy John surgery if he wants to keep pitching in the future. That much we do know. But for now, he’s going to keep playing as a designated hitter.
According to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, he has yet to decide on surgery.
“Shohei Ohtani said he will finish the season as a hitter. Hasn’t decided yet about TJ.”
Don’t worry, baseball fans. Ohtani wants to keep pitching. In fact, it seems like he definitely will keep pitching. He just doesn’t want to undergo surgery quite yet, Fletcher reports.
“It sounds like Ohtani is mostly resigned to having TJ surgery, just not 100 percent ready to make that decision. Also, he said abandoning pitching is not a consideration.”
And that makes plenty of sense. After all, he’s so good at both pitching and hitting. At the plate this season (279 PA), he’s slashing .287/.367/.579 (.946 OPS) with 16 doubles, 18 home runs and seven stolen bases. He’s only been caught stealing once. But on the mound, the Japanese superstar has a 3.31 ERA, 3.60 FIP and 3.60 DRA across 10 starts (51.2 innings). Only he and Babe Ruth have tossed 50 innings while hitting 15 home runs in the same season.
In other words, Ohtani is a very special player. That’s been obvious for some time now. It’s not often that somebody comes along who can pitch AND hit as well as Shohei does. Seeing him miss the entire 2019 season would be a genuine bummer, but at 24 years old he’s got plenty of time on his side.
When the time comes, let’s hope he makes a full recovery. The game is so much better with him in it.