Nightengale: Angels Holding Their Breath

Shohei Ohtani might need Tommy John surgery

Ferrall On The Bench
June 12, 2018 - 3:09 pm

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Shohei Ohtani was having a spectacular rookie campaign for the Los Angeles Angels this season. 

The 23-year-old entered the majors as one of the most highly regarded international players in history. He was met with enormous expectations – and he was exceeding them. In 49.1 innings pitched, Ohtani was 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA and 61 strikeouts. As a hitter, the young phenom hit .289 with six home runs and 20 RBIs. He drew comparisons to Babe Ruth and appeared to be a superstar in the making. 

And then the Angels announced last Friday that Ohtani suffered a Grade 2 UCL sprain in his pitching elbow — firmly placing him on the disabled list for the indefinite future.

According to USA Today MLB columnist Bob Nightengale, Ohtani’s future is uncertain. 

“We don’t know,” Nightengale said on Ferrall on the Bench, when asked if Ohtani would need Tommy John surgery. “Too early to tell.”

Ohtani is receiving platelet-rich plasma injections to help heal the injured elbow, but recovery treatments for partial tears can be tricky.

“On these Grade 2 sprains, they can go either way,” Nightengale said. “Could be Tommy John, or quit pitching for a while. As long as it stays like this, it's kind of a coin flip.”

The loss of Ohtani is a big blow for the Angels (37-30), who are 5.5 games back in the AL West entering play June 12.

The Angels’ medical staff will reevaluate Ohtani in three weeks to determine the next step in his recovery. For now, though, the only thing that the team can do is wait and hope for the best.

“They’ll hold their breath and see what happens,” Nightengale said. “We’ll see if it works.”