- Ohtani will only hit in 2024. Return to pitching in 2025.
- Still heavily favored to win the MLB’s American League MVP.
- Set to be a free agent at the end of the season.
Los Angeles Angels standout, Shohei Ohtani, has had a surgical procedure on his elbow and is slated to make a comeback as a hitter by Opening Day 2024 and resume pitching in 2025.
Shohei Ohtani Has UCL Surgery and Will Return For The 2024 Season
Shohei Ohtani, after tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on August 23, ended his pitching for the season. However, his stint as a batter continued until an oblique strain on September 3.
Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ head team physician, operated on Ohtani at the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute. Unlike the Tommy John surgery performed on Ohtani in 2018, this procedure aimed to “reinforce the healthy ligament,” indicating a different approach to his previous surgery.
Taking to Instagram, Ohtani expressed gratitude, stating, “Thank you very much for everyone’s prayers and kind words. It was unfortunate I couldn’t finish the year on the field. I will work hard to return stronger.”
Nez Balelo, Ohtani’s agent, emphasized Ohtani’s commitment to his baseball future. “The final decision and type of procedure was made with an emphasis on the big picture,” Balelo noted, underscoring Ohtani’s ambition to hit and pitch for years ahead.
Before his injury, Ohtani showcased exceptional prowess, leading the American League with 44 home runs, 96 RBIs, eight triples, and 20 stolen bases. On the pitching front, he secured 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA in 23 starts.
ElAttrache, commenting on the surgical decision, shared, “The plan was to repair and reinforce the ligament, ensuring the longevity of the elbow. I anticipate a full recovery, with Ohtani ready to hit by 2024 and pitch by 2025.”
With free agency on the horizon post-World Series, Ohtani’s potential has sparked speculations of a record-breaking contract, possibly exceeding $500 million.
The timetable for recovery from a UCL repair, also known as “Tommy John Surgery,” is typically 4-6 months, but it has already been announced that he will only hit in the 2024 season. If you’re looking to bet on Ohtani winning the AL MVP, you’re out of luck because the odds were so large (up to -20000) that most sportsbooks, like DraftKings, took it off the market. The bigger question looming is: where will Ohtani call home next year? It’s predicted that he will receive not only the largest contract in MLB history but possibly the largest in American sports history. This surgery will not impact teams vying for his services.
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