Shohei Ohtani, the two-way sensation for the Los Angeles Angels, has confirmed that he intends to continue playing both as a slugger and pitcher despite tearing the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow for the second time. The injury was publicly revealed during a doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds on August 23, and it has raised questions about Ohtani’s future in the game.
As a two-way player, Ohtani has become a highly sought-after talent in Major League Baseball due to his exceptional skills both on the mound and at the plate. Ohtani’s agent, Nez Balelo, stated that the Japanese star will undergo a procedure to mend the UCL tear and should be ready to hit at the start of the next season. However, the specifics of Ohtani’s treatment plan and whether a less invasive procedure will be considered remain unknown.
While the injury has significantly impacted Ohtani’s pitching abilities, doctors have assured him that continuing to hit as a designated hitter will not further harm his UCL. This is undoubtedly good news for the slugger, whose impressive season includes a .304 batting average, 44 home runs (tied for the league lead), 95 RBIs, and 20 stolen bases.
Before his injury, Ohtani also demonstrated his pitching prowess with a 10-5 record, a 3.14 earned run average (ERA), and 167 strikeouts in 132 innings pitched. Despite the uncertainty surrounding his return to the mound, Balelo expressed confidence in Ohtani’s recovery and assured fans that he will be in someone’s lineup next year as a designated hitter.
As the off-season approaches and Ohtani becomes a free agent, numerous teams are expected to vie for his services, eager to have a player of his caliber. Ohtani’s ability to contribute both as a premier slugger and a star pitcher makes him a rare commodity in the league.
While the exact timeline for Ohtani’s return to pitching remains uncertain, spectators and fans alike will be eagerly awaiting his comeback. Regardless, it is clear that Ohtani’s determination to continue as a two-way player despite his injury proves his unwavering commitment to the game and his desire to contribute to his team’s success.