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'Injured' Ohtani ends season early after all..."to have elbow su

Major League Baseball (MLB) superstar Shohei Ohtani (29-Los Angeles Angels) will end his season early and head to the operating table to repair a right elbow injury.

The Angels announced on Saturday (Nov. 16) that Ohtani has been placed on the 10-day disabled list (IL), officially ending his season early, and will miss the remainder of the season.

"Ohtani continues to feel irritation in his right lateral muscle," Angels president Perry Minassian said at a press conference at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, California, U.S. "As a result, we have decided to end his season."

"Ohtani has decided to undergo elbow surgery for next season, but we do not know if it will be an elbow ligament reconstruction (Tommy John surgery) or something else."

Regardless of the type of surgery, Ohtani's decision to take a scalpel to his elbow means he will not be able to pitch next season.

Ohtani's price tag is also likely to drop.

Ohtani, who is eligible for free agency after this season, looked set to become the first player in MLB history to sign an astronomical contract worth more than $500 million.

However, the Tommy John surgery will require more than a year of rehabilitation, and even if he undergoes another surgery, it's unlikely he'll return to pitch in 2024. It's unclear if he'll ever regain his form as a pitcher.

Ohtani's camp is defending his value, saying he can play as a hitter next season.

His agent, Nez Valero, told the Associated Press, "Even with the surgery, he will be able to play full-time as a designated hitter next season."

Ohtani has actually played a season as a designated hitter after undergoing elbow surgery before.

After receiving his first Tommy John surgery in 2018, Ohtani spent the 2019 season as a designated hitter only, batting .286 with 18 home runs and 62 RBIs in 106 games.

Ohtani resumed his full-time two-hitting duties in 2021 and made baseball history last season by playing in both regulation innings and regulation at-bats.

This year, Ohtani was at his best before his injury.

He led Japan to victory at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March and was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player (MVP), but he also had one of his best regular-season performances as a pitcher and hitter in MLB.

Through 16 games, he was fourth in the American League in batting (.304), first in home runs (44), tied for fourth in RBIs (95), and second in slugging percentage and on-base percentage (OPS), and as a pitcher, he went 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA in 23 starts.

However, Ohtani was diagnosed with right elbow ligament damage in late August and was sidelined. On the fifth, he injured his right side muscle in batting practice and was unable to play as a hitter.

On the 16th, a large suitcase was placed in front of Ohtani's locker, and local media outlets predicted a possible early season end.

Ohtani's season is over, and so is his time with the Angels.

Ohtani joined the Angels in December 2017 after playing five years in Nippon Professional Baseball through the posting system.

At the time, Otani had offers from 27 MLB teams, but chose the Angels because they assured him that they would not restrict him to a two-hitting role.

The Angels were determined to keep him. "I think he's had a great time with the Angels," Minasian said, "and I hope he stays."
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Monday, September 18, 2023

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