Shohei Ohtani has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and will be unable to return to the field this season. It’s a shocking turn from a great prospect, Los Angeles Angels general manager Perry Minasian said Wednesday night in Anaheim, Calif. This is one of the most unexpected free agency events in baseball history.
Ohtani took only four outs and threw only 26 pitches in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds in Wednesday’s start, then decided to walk out. A subsequent MRI revealed a tear, although Minassian did not specify its severity. Ohtani still attempted to serve as the designated hitter in Game 2, but his team, the Angels, held him 1-for-5 in a 7-3 loss, and he now had to plan ahead.
One option, quite likely, is Tommy John surgery, which he had already had on his right elbow in October 2018 and which could allow him to make a full recovery for the 2024 season—a development that would make him a free agent could make Agent just as significant as many anticipated from a valuation in excess of $500 million.
“The plans and the details that are there, I haven’t received them yet,” Minassian said at Angel Stadium. “I’ve been in touch with his representation. Obviously, he’s worked on the second game. He did it in ’18, but we’ll have to see how it progresses and where it goes. It definitely caused an upset. That’s it. I feel sorry for them. But that’s it. If anyone can make a recovery, it’s him.”
The Angels recently decided not to trade Ohtani, hoping to sign him to a lucrative extension, and have gone 5–16 since the August 1 trade deadline, a franchise record. are on pace for an eighth season. His team is currently on a four-match losing streak. Their other superstar, Mike Trout, who recently made his return after a seven-week absence due to a hamstring injury, had his swing efforts “not go well,” Minasian reported.
The Angels are hopeful that Trout will be able to return this season.
Ohtani, at least for the time being, will be out.
Ohtani had earlier struggled with a broken nail and a blister on his middle finger on his elbow. In recent weeks, he has faced cramping problems. He asked to leave his previous start because of what Angels manager Phil Nevin called “arm fatigue”. That’s the word the Angels used in describing the reason for his quick exit on Wednesday, when he went out in their first 14 days of warm-up matches. His fastball averaged near 93.1 mph, about four ticks slower than his season average.
Minassian said the Angels had no knowledge of Ohtani’s condition prior to Wednesday.
Minassian said of Ohtani, “He never complained about anything that wasn’t made available to reporters.” “He had cramps; he was dehydrated, but today is his day. He refused to play and said, ‘Hey, I have a sore elbow.’ This is the first time we have heard from him about any kind of pain.”
Ohtani, 29, was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain in the USL in June of his debut season in 2018 and required platelet-rich plasma and stem-cell therapy. He remained in the lineup throughout that process, then was told he needed surgery on September 5, and he hit two home runs that night. Ohtani postponed this process until the early part of the offseason, spent the rest of 2019 rehabilitating as a pitcher while serving as a full-time DH, and returned to his position during the COVID-19-shortened season in 2020. Struggled on both counts.
As both forwards, his performance peaked in 2021, a year that won him the consensus American League Most Valuable Player award. He would have won the hardware again in 2022 if not for Aaron Judge’s record-setting home run campaign. And in 2023, they’ve become easy favorites again—even as the Angels are once again out of the playoff picture and even as another USL tear puts them out of the final six weeks. out as a pitcher for
Ohtani, who hit his 44th home run in the major leagues before his debut, is posting a.304/.405/.664 batting line this season but also a 3.14 ERA with 167 strikeouts in 132 innings. His 8.7 FanGraphs wins per replacement lead among players his age in the major leagues.
The Angels, who are still off on Thursday, do not yet know whether Ohtani will be available for the remainder of the season.
Minassian said, “We’ll go day by day to see how it turns out, see how it feels, and see how it turns out.” “He’s a great player, and he has no need for risk or limitations.”