Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels will have to make a decision after being sidelined with an elbow injury.
The right-hander started the first game of the 2023 Major League Baseball (MLB) doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, USA, on Thursday (July 24) and left the mound after pitching just 1⅓ innings. His fastball velocity was down, and he was clearly not his usual self.
He was removed from the game and checked out, and the Angels explained his condition at the time as “arm fatigue symptoms”. The arm was the reason he made his first start in two weeks against the San Francisco Giants on Oct. 10, and it’s a problem they’ve been worried about.
Ohtani is faced with two options: surgery or rehabilitation. If he goes under the knife, which he has already done once since the end of the 2018 season, he will have to undergo two elbow ligament splicing surgeries, which will reduce his value as a pitcher.
MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, reported on May 25, “We don’t yet know if he will have surgery, but if he does, it will be his second surgery. The chances of a pitcher having two Tommy John surgeries are not very high,” and analyzed, “If he does not return to the mound (after surgery), or if he does, he will not pitch as long as he did before the second surgery.”
“Ohtani will continue to play designated hitter this season, and as we’ve seen with Bryce Harper and others, undergoing elbow ligament splicing surgery (Tommy John surgery) shouldn’t affect his swing,” MLB.com wrote, adding, “It’s one thing to sign a player to a big contract who can only play designated hitter.” In the end, it will be difficult to prevent his value from declining as his two-hitting duties become more difficult.
It is also expected that the bidding war for Ohtani will heat up. “More teams will be able to get in on the action,” said MLB.com, “and while there were a limited number of teams that were able to offer an astronomical amount of money for Ohtani while he was a two-hitter, that number will have dropped. Given the marketing opportunities that come with it, more teams could be in the mix.”온라인바카
On the other hand, the Angels, who would have been reluctant to pay a hefty price tag, may be willing to make an aggressive move to keep Ohtani. “Ohtani would want to continue pitching even if he had surgery, and Anaheim (where the team is based) is a stable and familiar place to rehab,” MLB.com said.
A single choice can change the course of a career, a team, and an entire league. Now, more than ever, Ohtani is weighing his options, and it’s his choice.