Shohei Ohtani won’t pitch again this season after tearing UCL; hits MLB-leading home run in same game

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Shohei Ohtani won’t pitch again in the 2023 MLB season after suffering a tear to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow, Los Angeles Angels general manager Perry Minasian confirmed.

The 2021 American League MVP started the first game of the Angels’ doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds before having to leave the mound early in the second inning after striking out two batters in the game.

“We did imaging between games, he does have a tear, and he won’t pitch the rest of the year,” Minasian told reporters postgame. “We’re going to get a second opinion, go from there, but it’s basically day-to-day. Obviously, he hit. But that’s where we’re at.”

The Angels GM confirmed that he did not know the grade of the tear.

Ohtani has had a blockbuster year so far for the Angels and is heavily expected to pick up another AL MVP award at the end of the campaign. “Sho-time” now also leads Major League Baseball (MLB) in home runs for the year after notching No. 44 of the season.

In the bottom of the first, Ohtani crushed a two-run homer to right field off an Andrew Abbott pitch to give the Angels an early lead.

Angels fans will be hoping that the Japanese star can continue to hit throughout the season, as he did in the second game, but Minasian is unsure if Ohtani will keep this up after suffering the injury.

​​“I don’t know what to expect,” Minasian said when asked if Ohtani will hit for the rest of the year. “We’re gonna go day-to-day and just see how it goes. See how he feels I think as we get more information, as far as recovery time and all those types of things. We’ll have more information down the road.”

The 29-year-old has had an unmatched workload during his time in the MLB, but Minasian said that Ohtani has made it work.

“I would never put any limitations on players in general, especially him,” Minasian added. “He’s shown it’s obviously possible to do and excel at it.

“I expect him to bounce back and do what he needs to do to get back to where he was.”

Ohtani has previous experience in bouncing back from a UCL injury.

In September 2018, Ohtani underwent Tommy John surgery to repair damage to his UCL. The two-way star returned to MLB in May the following year as a hitter. Ohtani then returned to the mound in July 2020.

The Angels ended up losing the first game against the Reds 9-4. Cincinnati also took the second game with a 7-3 win to drop the Angels to 61-67 on the season.

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