"I have not heard that," said manager Mike Scioscia during an interview on Reiter's Block on CBS Sports HQ with Bill Reiter.
"The doctors are obviously very confident that he's going to get back out there," Scioscia added. "We're going to be very conservative with Shohei. We'll see when, first and foremost, the elbow is sound enough to where he can swing a bat. I think that'll happen before he's going to be out on the mound pitching. But we're very hopeful that he's going to be pitching for us again this season."
You can catch Scioscia's full interview on Reiter's Block on CBS Sports HQ at 4pm ET.
Monday morning a report from ESPN's Pedro Gomez said Ohtani will "probably need Tommy John surgery" in the wake of his recent elbow injury. . Here is a transcript of Gomez's video report:
"The Angels are holding out hope that (Ohtani won't need surgery), but everything I'm hearing is that the reality is he probably will need Tommy John surgery. They're trying to hold out because they're in the middle of a season, they're kind of competitive right now, he is their best pitcher. But, it doesn't look good at this point."
. Now he has a Grade 2 sprain, which is more severe, and that is not good progression. The tear -- a sprain is by definition a tear -- is getting worse, and there's nowhere else to go after this. A Grade 3 sprain is a complete ligament tear that requires Tommy John surgery.
When Ohtani was placed on the disabled list, the Angels said he received a platelet-rich plasma and stem cell injection in his elbow, so they are attempting to rehab the injury. He will be reevaluated after three weeks. Here's what GM Billy Eppler told reporters, including the Associated Press, about Ohtani's injury when he was placed on the disabled list:
"We're hopeful that he can (avoid surgery)," general manager Billy Eppler said, "that this is completely treatable with the biologic prescription that the doctors recommend."
A few hours after Gomez's report made the rounds, Eppler told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic that there has been no change in Ohtani's prognosis. He remains on track with his treatment plan and will be reevaluated in a few weeks.
#Angels GM Billy Eppler: “There have been no changes in Ohtani’s diagnosis and neither our physicians nor medical staff have recommended (Tommy John surgery) or said it’s likely.”— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 11, 2018
The Angels announced Friday that Ohtani has a grade 2 sprain of the UCL in his right elbow.
It is worth noting the Angels have had some success rehabbing UCL tears and avoiding Tommy John surgery. Garrett Richards rehabbed a partially torn UCL two years ago with a PRP and stem cell treatment similar to Ohtani's. Also, New York Yankees righty Masahiro Tanaka was able to rehab a partial UCL tear back in 2014. Rehabbing a ligament tear is uncommon, but not unprecedented.
Tommy John surgery has a very high success rate but it is not 100 percent, and any time there's a chance a star pitcher won't need his elbow cut open, they'll attempt rehab. These days Tommy John surgery rehab takes 12-14 months, sometimes longer. And Ohtani is especially unique because he is a two-way player. Tommy John surgery rehab for position players is typically 6-8 months. Would he able to hit before being able to pitch?
The soon-to-be 24-year-old Ohtani owns a 3.10 ERA (131 ERA+) with 61 strikeouts in nine starts and 49 1/3 innings so far this season. At the plate, he's hitting .282/.372/.535 (150 OPS+) with six home runs in 129 plate appearances. Ohtani is no worse than the team's third best player behind Mike Trout and Andrelton Simmons. Losing him for any stretch of time is a big blow. Tommy John surgery could mean losing him until 2020.
The Angels had their six-game winning streak snapped Sunday afternoon (MIN 7, LAA 5), and they are currently in third place in the AL West at 37-29. They're 4 1/2 games back in both the division race and the second Wild Card spot race.