If Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels) cannot pitch due to Tommy John surgery, will we be able to see him play as a fielder?
On the 24th (hereinafter Korean time), Ohtani started in the first leg of the double header against the Cincinnati Reds in the 2023 Major League Baseball held at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, USA, and went down the mound after recording 1 walk and 2 strikeouts in 1⅓ innings. The reason was an injury.
From the start of the game, Ohtani continued the game as usual, building out counts one by one, such as tying the Cincinnati batting line into a tripartite strike. However, while facing Christian Encarnacion-Strad in the second inning with one out and first base, he felt that his physical condition was abnormal and voluntarily went down the mound.
At that time, if there was something different about his pitching than usual, it was that there was no restraint. In the game against Cincinnati, Ohtani’s highest speed was only 94.4 miles (about 152.9 km), and his lowest speed was only 90.9 miles (about 146.3 km), so the average speed (93.1 miles) had to fall. He wasn’t completely without symptoms.
The Angels revealed the reason immediately after Ohtani was replaced as ‘arm fatigue’. However, the results of the examination were rather serious. The right elbow ligament (UCL) was ruptured. Elbow ligament rupture is a very serious injury that is highly likely to lead to ‘Tommy John surgery’ that baseball fans have no choice but to know. You may not be able to return to the mound with just one surgery, and if you do have surgery, it will take at least a year to return.
When you hear the word ‘Tommy John surgery’, the first player that comes to mind is definitely ‘Korean Monster’ Ryu Hyun-jin (Toronto Blue Jays). Ryu Hyun-jin suffered from forearm pain last year, but as a result of a checkup, he was told that he needed Tommy John surgery, and after more than a year of long rehabilitation, he returned to the big league stage on the 2nd.
Currently, Ohtani and the Angels have not decided whether to have ‘surgery’ or not. In an interview with reporters after the first and second games of the doubleheader on the 24th, general manager Perry Minassian announced that he would discuss with agents after receiving the second examination. However, Ohtani will no longer play as a pitcher this year. He suffered a major injury, but depending on the severity, he may be treated with an injection, so he plans to undergo a cross-check.
It is doubtful whether he will continue to play as a hitter. However, Ohtani continued to play as a batter in the second game despite being aware of a ruptured elbow ligament after missing the first game on the 24th. And on the 26th, against the New York Mets, he played as a batter and contributed greatly to the victory of the Angels by going 2 at-bats, 1 hit, 1 run and 3 walks.스포츠토토
Ohtani’s injury is not a big deal for the Angels, who have no chance of advancing to the postseason. However, he won the American League MVP title by unanimous decision in 2021, and this year, while running toward the MVP and home run king and raising his value ahead of the FA (free agent), the elbow ligament rupture is from the standpoint of Ohtani’s ‘individual’. There is no doubt that it was a very large lightning bolt.
In the US local media, articles are pouring in about how much this injury will affect Ohtani’s ransom. Some media predicts that long-term departure from surgery will have a big impact on the ‘ransom’, while as a pitcher, even if you won’t be able to climb the mound for a while, it’s still worth 400 to 500 million dollars as a ‘batter’. There is also a view that a contract of (530.8 to 663.5 billion won) will be possible.
In the midst of this, the US’The Athletic’ suggested the latter reaction and suggested that the New York Mets could participate in Ohtani’s recruitment. The media said, “In front of the New York Mets and fans, Ohtani shows his value amidst the uncertainty of his injury.” “Ohtani will change any lineup, including the Mets. Leading the way, he has 17 stolen bases and a batting average of 0.304. Even without pitching, it is an amazing figure,” he said, exclaiming.
Next, the reason why this injury is not expected to significantly affect Ohtani’s ransom is that additional profits may follow, but his performance as a hitter is also excellent. ‘The Athletic’ said, “You don’t have to worry about all the revenue the team can earn, such as sponsorships (sponsors) from companies related to Ohtani, advertisements and merchandise in the stadium. Of course, entrepreneurs like Steve Cohen (owner of the Mets) highly value this value. It can be evaluated, but it means that Ohtani’s talent is just that great.”
Here, one ‘possibility’ and ‘condition’ were also raised. It is Ohtani’s field appearance. Ohtani often played as an outfielder in order to play as a hitter for the Nippon Ham Fighters in Nippon Professional Baseball. ‘The Athletic’ said, “If Ohtani can’t pitch, he may have to defend. A senior major league official said without hesitation that Ohtani’s speed and athleticism would make him an above-average fielder.” “The team may not spend money on DH when Ohtani can’t pitch,” he added.