- Ohtani tears UCL for the second time in career
- The challenges he and Angels will face
- What will be the future impact as he is set to be a free agent
Los Angeles Angels’ two-way sensation, Shohei Ohtani, will no longer pitch in the 2023 MLB season after being diagnosed with a tear in his UCL (ulnar collateral ligament). General Manager Perry Minasian confirmed the news, stating that surgery remains uncertain.
Shohei Ohtani Will Not Pitch Again in 2023
Los Angeles Angels phenom Shohei Ohtani’s pitching campaign for the 2023 MLB season has come to an abrupt halt following the revelation of a tear in his UCL. This setback marks a significant blow to the Angels, as Ohtani’s prowess as both a pitcher and batter has been a defining aspect of their gameplay.
During Wednesday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds, Ohtani left the field accompanied by a trainer due to “arm fatigue.” However, subsequent examination unveiled the presence of a UCL tear, which will prevent him from taking the mound for the remainder of the season. The decision on whether surgical intervention is necessary is pending, with further evaluation underway.
Ohtani’s journey this season has been marred by a series of minor ailments, including fingernail and blister troubles. Notably, he had a start skipped earlier due to arm fatigue, which now appears to be linked to the UCL injury. Despite these challenges, the 29-year-old has displayed extraordinary skill on both fronts.
At the plate, Ohtani boasts an impressive .304 batting average, with an OBP of .406 and a slugging percentage of .659. He has launched 43 home runs and driven in 89 runs, illustrating his prowess as a batter. Moreover, on the mound, he has delivered 130 innings of exceptional performance, carrying an ERA+ of 142.
Ohtani’s contributions have been unprecedented, making him the first player in MLB history to achieve double-digit wins and 40 home runs in a single season. His overall impact, as measured by Baseball Reference’s Wins Above Replacement, stands at a staggering 9.4.
This unfortunate injury comes as Ohtani was on track to enter free agency this winter, with industry insiders estimating a potential contract surpassing $500 million. The injury’s potential influence on his contract negotiations is significant, and there are speculations about the long-term implications for his career.
While the cessation of his pitching endeavors for this season is disappointing, Ohtani’s resilience remains evident. Angels’ GM Minasian expressed hope that Ohtani might return as a designated hitter, as he will not be swinging a bat for the upcoming days to facilitate further evaluation. Ohtani himself is determined to recover swiftly and contribute to the team’s success, whether on the mound or at the plate.
As the Angels face the Mets this weekend in New York, the spotlight remains on Ohtani’s journey to recovery. Despite the challenges posed by this injury, the baseball community anticipates Ohtani’s eventual return, eagerly awaiting his next chapter in the sport.
Losing one of part of Ohtani’s talent is going to hurt when he can’t pitch every fifth day. This could also impact his hitting approach with a hurt elbow, and his numbers could regress. This will not impact his chances of winning American League MVP, as he is still the heavy favorite, but as Los Angeles struggles and loses ground in the standings, it will be difficult to wager on them to make the playoffs.