Ohtani has recently had elbow surgery and is expected to resume hitting by the start of the 2024 season, while his pitching return is anticipated for the 2025 season.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani had elbow surgery Tuesday, and his doctor said he expects the two-way star will be available as a hitter on opening day next season and will return to the mound as a pitcher in 2025.
On August 23rd, Ohtani suffered an injury to the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, which led to the conclusion of his pitching season. However, he remained active as a batter until September 3rd when he experienced an oblique strain.
Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the head team physician for the Los Angeles Dodgers, conducted a surgical procedure on Tuesday at the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles. In a statement, he mentioned that they opted to strengthen the existing ligament instead of reconstructing the UCL through Tommy John surgery. It is worth noting that Dr. ElAttrache previously performed Tommy John surgery on Ohtani on October 1, 2018.
“I underwent a medical procedure on my elbow this morning and it was successful,” Ohtani shared on Instagram. “I appreciate all the prayers and kind messages from everyone. It’s disappointing that I couldn’t continue playing this year, but I will support my team until the end. I will put in maximum effort and strive to return to the field even stronger.”
Balelo, Ohtani’s representative, released a statement on behalf of the Angels, without providing detailed information about the nature of the surgery.
Balelo stated that the ultimate choice and approach were carefully considered, prioritizing the overall perspective. He mentioned that Shohei aimed to ensure that the chosen path would provide him ample chances to excel in both hitting and pitching in the long run.
The 29-year-old Ohtani leads the AL with 44 homers and has 96 RBIs, eight triples and 20 stolen bases. He was 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA in 23 starts, striking out 167 and walking 55 in 132 innings.
“After discussing with Shohei, our final strategy is to address the current problem by repairing it and strengthening the healthy ligament. Additionally, we will incorporate viable tissue to ensure the longevity of the elbow,” stated ElAttrache in a statement issued by the Angels. “I anticipate a complete recovery, and he will be fully prepared to bat without any limitations by the opening day of 2024. Furthermore, he will be able to both bat and pitch starting in 2025.”
After the World Series, Ohtani will have the opportunity to become a free agent. Prior to his elbow injury, there were rumors suggesting that he could potentially secure a contract worth $500 million or even higher.
Opening day next season is March 28, which will be 191 days after Ohtani‘s operation. Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper returned this season as a designated hitter 160 days after having Tommy John surgery.
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