Shohei Ohtani's Elbow Surgery Sets Sights On 2024 Hitting Return

Photo: Instagram/Shohei Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani has undergone elbow surgery, marking a significant milestone in his career trajectory.

His agent, Nez Balelo, revealed that the procedure was executed with a keen focus on Ohtani's long-term prospects in both hitting and pitching. Ohtani, who showcased his versatility by posting a 3.14 ERA with 167 strikeouts over 132 innings this year, faced a pivotal moment when a UCL tear in his elbow necessitated a transition to exclusively hitting after August 23rd.

Ohtani conveyed his optimism following the surgery, expressing gratitude for the support he received from fans. His commitment to returning stronger than ever was evident in his statement on Instagram.

Photo: Instagram/Shohei Ohtani 

Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who conducted the surgery, offered assurance of a full recovery, projecting Ohtani's readiness to hit without restrictions by Opening Day in 2024 and the possibility of resuming both hitting and pitching by 2025. The timing of this surgery was a notable setback for Ohtani, as he had to be sidelined for the remainder of the season due to an oblique issue.

Despite this, he remains a frontrunner for the American League Most Valuable Player Award, potentially securing his second MVP title in three years. This situation adds complexity to Ohtani's impending free agency, as his previous earning potential, estimated at over $500 million, may be impacted by his inability to pitch next season.
Notably, this marked Ohtani's second major elbow surgery, with the first being Tommy John surgery at the end of the 2018 season. This earlier procedure led to a missed 2019 season, and further arm troubles, coupled with the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, restricted him to just two starts that year.

However, upon his return in 2021, Ohtani enjoyed an extraordinary three-year stretch, excelling both as a batter and a pitcher. Over this period, he recorded impressive statistics, including 124 home runs and 542 strikeouts.

With the recent surgery delaying his pitching contributions until at least 2025, Ohtani's fans and baseball enthusiasts will have to wait patiently to witness the return of the two-way phenom who has made an indelible mark on the sport during his remarkable career.

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Source: MLB

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