Shohei Ohtani's 2023 Pitching Season Ends With UCL Tear: Angels Await Second Opinion

Photo: Instagram/Shohei Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani, the versatile star for the Angels, suffered a significant setback on Wednesday.

During the opening game of a doubleheader against the Reds, Ohtani had to leave the mound after just 1 1/3 innings due to a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow. This marks the second time he's faced this injury, having previously undergone Tommy John surgery in 2018 that kept him from pitching in 2019.

The Angels are awaiting a second medical opinion before determining if surgery is necessary. Despite being a strong contender for the American League MVP Award for the second time in three years, Ohtani's pitching season for 2023 has come to an early end after an MRI revealed the tear.
Perry Minasian, the general manager, confirmed that Ohtani won't pitch again this year and emphasized that they're taking things day by day. Ohtani's commitment was evident as he opted to remain in the lineup for Game 2, even amidst the uncertainty of his injury.

While Ohtani's batting performance remains uncertain, his pitching future is in question. The timing is unfortunate as Ohtani is approaching free agency and was poised for a potentially record-breaking contract.

The possibility of a second Tommy John surgery, with its lower success rate, could jeopardize his 2024 season and beyond. However, Minasian remains hopeful, citing Ohtani's history of overcoming challenges.

Ohtani's current season saw him make 23 starts on the mound, posting a 10-5 record with a 3.14 ERA and 167 strikeouts. His last start was skipped due to arm fatigue, but he hadn't previously mentioned any elbow discomfort.

Alongside his pitching success, Ohtani's offensive prowess shone with his MLB-leading 44th homer and a strong batting line. Despite the setback, Ohtani's dedication to playing through the pain in Game 2 spoke volumes about his character and commitment to the team.

The Angels now face uncertainty as they await further medical insights and hope for Ohtani's complete recovery.

Source: MLB


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