Shohei Ohtani, one of the most exciting players in baseball, may not be able to pitch again until 2020

Bob Levey/Getty ImagesShohei Ohtani pitching for the Los Angeles Angels in Major League Baseball.
  • Shohei Ohtani has a Grade 2 UCL sprain, which could require Tommy John surgery, and if so, Ohtani might not pitch again until the 2020 MLB season.
  • One of Ohtani’s most heavily-used pitches puts a lot of strain on the elbow and could be the cause of his injury.
  • As one of the most exciting players in baseball, Ohtani missing significant time would be a huge blow to fans.

Los Angeles Angels player Shohei Ohtani established himself as one of the best stories in baseball early in the season, as an unprecedented two-way threat at both pitching and hitting, but now it looks like that story may be coming to a disappointing early end.

In an appearance on “SportsCenter,” ESPN reporter Pedro Gomez stated that Ohtani has a Grade 2 UCL sprain, and that, “Everything I’m hearing is that the reality is, he probably will need Tommy John surgery.”

According to Gomez, the Angels are still holding out hope Ohtani might not need the surgery, and for a good reason. If he does go through with Tommy John surgery, Ohtani would not be back on the pitcher’s mound until 2020.

“Well, it’s a surgery that requires normally about a 15-month rehab process,” Gomez said. “So when you just do the maths, you figure this whole season is out, and in all likelihood, all of next season as well, the earliest we might see him, should he have Tommy John surgery, would be the 2020 season.”

This development, while upsetting, is not necessarily a huge surprise, according to Gomez.

“I spoke to a couple of professional pitchers who told me, no pitch in baseball puts more strain on an elbow than a split-fingered fastball. That, of course, is Ohtani’s out pitch, he throws it one out every four pitches that he has thrown here in the big leagues, who knows what damage that has caused. One of the pitchers told me, a lot guys who rely on the split-finger, end up having Tommy John surgery.”

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