Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani has announced he underwent elbow surgery Tuesday morning after the two-way player was ruled out of both pitching and batting for the rest of the season due to injuries.
Ohtani should be ready to hit on opening day of the 2024 season but likely won’t return to pitching until 2025, the physician who performed the surgery, Dr. Neal ElAttrache, said Tuesday.
“I had a procedure done on my elbow earlier this morning and everything went very well,” Ohtani said in an Instagram post. “Thank you very much for everyone’s prayers and kind words.”
The surgery was to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament that the team discovered in Ohtani’s throwing elbow on August 23, prompting the Angels to shut the Japanese 29-year-old down as a pitcher.
He has also been absent from the Angels’ batting lineup since September 3 due to inflammation of his core muscles, with the team ultimately announcing Saturday that he would miss the remainder of the season.
Which team Ohtani will play for next season is yet to be seen. He is expected to be one of the most sought-after free agents when his contract expires after this season.
“I will work as hard as I can and do my best to come back on the diamond stronger than ever,” Ohtani said in his post.
The three-time All-Star had been enjoying a sensational season, leading the American League in home runs (44) and walks as of Tuesday, and sitting among the league’s leaders for batting average (.304) and triples (8).
As a starting pitcher in 2023, Ohtani compiled a record of 10-5 in 23 games – for a team that had a 68-83 record as of Tuesday and will miss the postseason. He struck out 167 batters in 132 innings and had an earned run average of 3.14.
The surgery plan “after deliberation with Shohei was to repair the issue at hand and to reinforce the healthy ligament in place while adding viable tissue for the longevity of the elbow,” ElAttrache said in a statement shared by Ohtani’s agent, Nez Balelo.
ElAttrache, a sports medicine specialist who serves as the head team physician for the Los Angeles Rams and Dodgers, also performed surgery on New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ torn Achilles tendon earlier this month.
“The final decision and type of procedure was made with a heavy emphasis on the big picture,” Balelo said. “Shohei wanted to make sure the direction taken gave him every opportunity to hit and pitch for many years to come.”
“It was very unfortunate that I couldn’t finish out the year on the field, but I will be rooting on the boys until the end,” Ohtani said Tuesday.
Ohtani has been an Angel since coming to the major leagues in 2018. He won the American League Rookie of the Year award in 2018 and was the American League MVP in 2021.