This is getting somewhat confusing.
Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani is currently on the disabled list with a Grade 2 strain of Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) — the same ligament that can be replaced by Tommy John surgery if it fails. Pedro Gomez of ESPN reported on Monday that Ohtani was “probably” headed for Tommy John surgery, which would end his season and probably keep him out for much (or all) of the 2019 season as well.
“The Angels are holding out hope that (Tommy John surgery) won’t be the case, but everything I’m hearing is that the reality is, he probably will need Tommy John surgery,” Gomez said on SportsCenter on Monday morning. “They’re trying to hold out, because they’re in the middle of the season, they’re kind of competitive right now, he is their best pitcher, but it doesn’t look good at this point.”
However, the team is refuting those reports. Angels general manager Billy Eppler told reporters that no one is suggesting Tommy John in their organization.
“We’re hopeful that he can, that it is completely treatable with the biologic prescription the doctors recommended,” Eppler said according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. “I’m just going to take every day as it comes and put him on this course of recovery and strengthening for the next three weeks and then deal with what we’ve got to deal with in three weeks’ time.”
“There have been no changes in Ohtani’s diagnosis and neither our physicians nor medical staff have recommended (Tommy John surgery) or said it’s likely,” he added.
Ohtani has been great both on the mound and at the plate, living up the hype of being one of the only true two-way baseball stars. He is 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA, striking out 61 batters over 49 1/3 innings pitched. With the bat, he’s hitting .289 with six home runs and 20 RBI. That’s in only 34 games, too, since the Angels don’t let him hit the day before or after he’s scheduled to pitch.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 11, 2018
There is talk that Ohtani could try to avoid the surgery and play out the season as the Angels’ designated hitter, putting his pitching career on hold for the time being. The only problem with that is he’s arguably the best pitcher they have, and they have postseason aspirations this year.
For now, it sounds like everyone will just have to wait three weeks for the Angels to give us update.