After winning the American League Rookie of the Year award, Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani returned to his native country of Japan and met with reporters in Tokyo to reflect on his incredible debut in Major League Baseball.

Ohtani was a Japanese baseball star before he signed with the Angels and on Thursday, he spoke about adjusting to the elite level of competition he faced once he was in the United States.

"Everything was different -- the baseball, the culture," he said of the difference between MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball. "I was aware right away of a higher level of power, technique and speed. You probably notice it's lot different physically, but their technical acumen was more advanced than I had imagined and they're using so many advanced techniques."

When an MRI exam in September revealed damage to Ohtani's ulnar collateral ligament in his right (pitching) elbow, his season as a pitcher was over, but he continued to DH. Ohtani underwent Tommy John surgery on Oct. 1, and he isn't expected to pitch in the majors again until the 2020 season.

As a pitcher, Ohtani finished his rookie season with a 4-2 record, a 3.31 ERA and 63 strikeouts over 51 2/3 innings in 10 starts. As a designated hitter, he batted .285 with 22 homers and 61 RBIs and a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances.

Ohtani became the first player since Babe Ruth in 1919 to pitch more than 50 innings and hit more than 15 homers in the same season. 

"I get compared to him often, but to me he's like something from a myth," Ohtani said of Ruth. "His presence is so surreal, I can't really grasp it. I know of the numbers he had, but considering where I am as a player, I'm not in a position to think about him yet.

"Hopefully I can get closer to him year by year, but right now, I can't honestly think about it too much."

Ohtani told reporters that his recovery from Tommy John has been successful thus far.

"It hasn't quite been two months, but I haven't had any problems in my daily life," he said. "For the first month or so, I felt like I couldn't use my right arm the way I wanted, but I don't feel like there are any problems now."

"I was a little reluctant to have surgery on my elbow and I thought it would be better if I could avoid it," Ohtani said. "But looking at the long term, I thought it'd be best to be fully healthy and able to perform at my best on the mound. That's when I thought the surgery was necessary."

Ohtani may not be pitching next season, but he plans to remain a two-way player when he returns to the mound in 2020.

"Maybe I'll eventually narrow it down to one or the other naturally, but for now, I'm not thinking about that at all."