The signs have been there for a few months, but now it looks like Shohei Ohtani is officially headed for Tommy John surgery.
Los Angeles Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani might have been the most captivating MLB player in 2018, but it appears that he has officially thrown his last pitch this year — and possibly for a long time.
A recent MRI revealed even further damage to Ohtani’s UCL in his right elbow. Now he is looking at Tommy John surgery, which means there would be a solid chance that he wouldn’t return to the mound until the 2020 season.
The 24-year-old made a start for the Angels on Sunday against the Houston Astros, which was his first start since early June. He only lasted two and a third innings and experienced a significant drop in velocity. He threw a total of 49 pitches, walking two hitters and striking out two as well.
But it became evident that the arm was not right when his fastball dropped down to roughly around 90 miles per hour by the third inning when it had been anywhere between 96 to 99 in the first two.
Even though all the signs were pointing toward surgery months ago when Ohtani’s elbow began seriously acting up, the Angels decided to hope for a miracle that with a little bit of rehab, the problems would just go away on their own. So they shelved Ohtani for a brief period of time, but then brought him back first as a hitter, and later sent him back out to the mound.
All they really did was mess up his elbow even further. Now it will just be even longer before he’s ready to pitch again.
The Angels definitely could’ve handled this situation a little better. Ohtani is done for the rest of this year, and you can forget about seeing him in 2019. At some point during the 2020 season, he might finally make it back to the mound.
That’s a pretty rough way for Ohtani to begin his career in the Major Leagues.