Shohei Ohtani underwent surgical procedure as we speak to deal with the UCL tear in his proper elbow, in accordance with an announcement launched by his agent Nez Balelo. The precise kind of the surgical procedure (whether or not a Tommy John process or an inside brace) wasn’t specified by Balelo or Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who carried out the process.
“The final word plan after deliberation with Shohei was to restore the difficulty at hand and to bolster the wholesome ligament in place whereas including viable tissue for the longevity of the elbow,” Dr. ElAttrache mentioned within the assertion. “I count on full restoration and he’ll be able to hit with none restrictions come Opening Day of 2024 and do each (hit and pitch) come 2025.”
Ohtani himself additionally commented on the state of affairs by way of his Instagram web page, in a considerably uncharacteristic transfer for a participant recognized for his relative lack of public statements. Ohtani’s assertion: “I had a process completed on my elbow earlier this morning and every thing went effectively. Thanks very a lot for everybody’s prayers and sort phrases. It was very unlucky that I couldn’t end out the yr on the sector, however I will likely be rooting on the boys till the tip. I’ll work as onerous as I can and do my greatest to come back again on the diamond stronger than ever. Go Halos!!”
As famous by Jeff Fletcher of the Southern California Information Group, ElAttrache’s description appears to suggest that Ohtani opted for a brace process, or at the least one thing completely different than a regular Tommy John surgical procedure. TJ procedures have a reasonably set timeline of 13-15 months whereas brace procedures (a comparatively newer kind of surgical procedure) have usually had a shorter timeline, but ElAttrache’s assertion signifies that Ohtani isn’t anticipated to pitch in 2024.
It’s doable extra data on Ohtani’s pitching standing may develop as he continues to rehab, although Balelo mentioned “the ultimate determination and kind of process was made with a heavy emphasis on the large image. Shohei wished to ensure the path taken gave him each alternative to hit and pitch for a few years to come back.” With this warning in thoughts, it appears doable that Ohtani isn’t planning to pitch in 2024 by any means, particularly since he already had a Tommy John surgical procedure in late 2018 that restricted him to DH-only responsibility in 2019.
Ohtani nonetheless hit a really strong .286/.343/.505 with 18 homers over 425 plate appearances in 2019, along with his season debut held off till Might 7 as a result of TJ rehab course of. He then pitched just one 2/3 innings in 2020 as a result of a flexor pressure and in addition struggled on the plate throughout the abbreviated 60-game season, however Ohtani has subsequently rebounded with three of essentially the most uniquely excellent seasons in baseball historical past.
Since Opening Day 2021, Ohtani has a 2.84 ERA over 428 1/3 innings pitched, whereas hitting .277/.379/.585 with 124 house runs over 1904 PA. This two-way excellence earned him AL MVP honors in 2021, a runner-up MVP end in 2022, and really possible one other MVP trophy this season, despite the fact that his yr has been reduce quick by damage. The UCL tear meant that Ohtani’s final begin got here on August 23, and whereas he tried to maintain going as a hitter, he hasn’t performed since September 3 as a result of an indirect pressure. The Angels introduced over the weekend that Ohtani had formally been positioned on the 10-day injured record, and wouldn’t play once more in 2023.
Consideration now turns to Ohtani’s subsequent determination, as he’ll enter free company with a resume not like another participant to ever attain the open market. It stays to be seen how Ohtani’s surgical procedure will influence his market, although even when he’s unable to pitch in 2024, most pundits really feel he’ll nonetheless land a record-setting deal, maybe topping the $500MM threshold.
It’s fairly doable that the advertising alternatives and additional revenues out there to the workforce that indicators Ohtani will offset the additional danger of his elbow issues, as even when there’s some pure long-term query about Ohtani’s arm well being, he supplies loads of worth even when he “solely” an elite hitter. golf equipment will clearly need as a lot data as doable on Ohtani’s well being and rehab standing earlier than making their determination on a serious contract supply, although ready too lengthy to deliberate may also value a workforce an opportunity at making the signing.
There was a lot hypothesis that Ohtani has already performed his final recreation in an Angels uniform. Los Angeles has proven a willingness to pay huge cash for star expertise, but since Ohtani has been vocal about his want to play for a winner, the Angels’ string of eight consecutive dropping seasons may get him wanting elsewhere, it doesn’t matter what possession may supply in a brand new contract. Ohtani’s free company would be the key storyline of the 2023-24 offseason, and it isn’t a attain to say that a lot of the winter enterprise across the sport may be held as much as some extent till Ohtani chooses his subsequent workforce.