Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani will undergo Tommy John surgery next week
Surgery was recommended earlier this month
Tuesday afternoon the Angels announced Ohtani will have right elbow reconstruction next week, following the end of the regular season. The procedure will keep him off the mound for the entire 2019 season.
, though Ohtani went for a second opinion, and opted to remain with the team as a hitter for the time being. For pitchers, the typical Tommy John surgery rehab timetable is 14-16 months. Since Ohtani is having it in early October, he'll get 16 months to rehab before Spring Training 2020.
Ohtani has continued to play with the Angels as a designated hitter in recent weeks -- he's not at risk of further injury because his elbow ligament is already damaged to the point where it needs to be replaced -- and he's been incredibly productive, hitting .294/.377/.647 with six home runs in 19 games in September.
The Angels signed Ohtani last offseason knowing he had been receiving treatment for a Grade 1 elbow sprain. It progressed to a Grade 2 sprain and sent him to the disabled list at midseason, then, ultimately, the sprain got even worse, necessitating surgery. Here's the timeline:
- June 8: Ohtani placed on 10-day DL with elbow sprain.
- July 3: Ohtani returns from the 10-day DL as a hitter only.
- Aug. 12: Ohtani throws first bullpen session following injury.
- Sept. 2: Ohtani returns to game action as a pitcher.
- Sept. 5: Tommy John surgery recommended.
Ohtani made one pitching appearance after returning from the disabled list and labored through 2 1/3 innings while being held to a strict pitch count. His velocity dropped considerably during that outing, which led to tests, which revealed the ligament tear.
The Tommy John surgery rehab timetable is generally much shorter for hitters (6-9 months) than pitchers, though it's unclear whether Ohtani will be allowed to hit next season. This is uncharted territory, really. There's never been a true two-way major league player like Ohtani, let alone one who needed Tommy John surgery. The Angels have indicated they will develop a rehab plan with the doctors in the coming weeks and months.
Ohtani, 24, is hitting .280/.361/.564 (151 OPS+) with 20 doubles and 21 home runs in 347 plate appearances this season. He's been a top 10 hitter in baseball on a rate basis. On the mound, Ohtani made 10 starts and threw 51 2/3 innings with a 3.31 ERA (127 ERA+) and 63 strikeouts. He more than lived up to the hype on both sides of the ball.
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