Shohei Ohtani says he's ahead of schedule on Tommy John rehab before Rookie of the Year win
The AL Rookie of the Year still won't be able to pitch in 2019
Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani was on Monday night. But prior to getting his award, he was interviewed on MLB Network and gave some possibly very good news. Ohtani said he was either right on schedule in his Tommy John surgery rehab or even maybe a little ahead of schedule.
"So far it's going really well, no setbacks," Ohtani said through an interpreter. "I think I'm right on schedule, maybe a little bit ahead."
Regardless, Ohtani won't be pitching in 2019. He had the surgery at the end of this past season.
I do wonder about Ohtani being able to serve as DH at some point next season, though. Let's say he's 10 months out of the surgery, the Angels are contending and Ohtani is cleared by the medical staff to swing a bat. What's the harm in returning there? He's a great hitter and could add some serious thump to the order.
Ohtani hit .285/.361/.564 (152 OPS+) with 21 doubles, two triples, 22 homers, 61 RBI, 59 runs and 10 stolen bases in 367 plate appearances.
Of course, the most interesting aspect here is how the Angels deal with Ohtani in 2020. Will he just be the Sunday starting pitcher again who DHs three or four games when he's not pitching, or will they decide to use him in a different way? He's probably too good to give up one or the other, and it's just too fun to see a player doing this to hope they choose one.
Ohtani, 24, was 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 63 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings before he was forced to stop pitching. He made just 10 big-league starts, but Ohtani dazzled in a handful.
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