Angels' Shohei Ohtani will have Tommy John at start of offseason


Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani has decided to undergo Tommy John surgery and will have the procedure next week, the team announced Tuesday.

Renowned surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache will perform the procedure in Los Angeles.

The Angels announced Sept. 5 that an MRI showed Ohtani had new damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow and that Tommy John surgery was the recommended course of action. However, Ohtani hadn’t yet committed to the procedure.

Ohtani, who throws right-handed and bats left-handed, said when the surgical recommendation was revealed that he planned to finish this season as the team’s designated hitter. The 24-year-old rookie also maintained he would be able to return next season as a DH, even though he might not be able to throw again until 2020.

“Swinging doesn’t affect my elbow in any way,” said Ohtani, who went on a homer hot streak shortly after the diagnosis. “I feel like I’m progressing as a hitter right now. I’m getting as many experiences as I can while the games count.”

Ohtani is hitting .280 with 21 home runs and 56 RBIs in 307 at-bats. As a pitcher, he went 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 10 starts.

Ohtani was diagnosed with a sprained right ulnar collateral ligament after a start June 6. After receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection and an injection of stem cells, he was hitting again in early July, and he returned to the mound with a start Sept. 2 against the Houston Astros.

Ohtani lasted only 2⅓ innings against the Astros, and he had a drastic drop in velocity during the game. He had been scheduled to throw a light bullpen session a few days later but never did after reporting that his elbow was sore. The medical staff then decided that he should get the new MRI, leading to the surgical recommendation.

Ohtani was in the lineup Tuesday night against the Rangers. The team finishes play Sunday.

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