Shohei Ohtani, the Los Angeles Angels two-way superstar, is still in the process of evaluating medical opinions on the tear in his right ulnar collateral ligament (UCL).
However, his agent, Nez Balelo of CAA, made some crucial statements regarding Ohtani’s future in baseball.
Speaking to a gathering of reporters at Angel Stadium, Balelo addressed the media for the first time since Ohtani’s UCL tear was revealed on August 23rd.
Balelo provided insights into Ohtani’s current status and his determination to return as a two-way player in the future.
“There’s not a question in his mind that he’s going to come back and he’s going to continue to do both,” Balelo stated firmly, emphasizing Ohtani’s commitment to both pitching and hitting (and assumingly the type of contract that comes with it!)
#Angels Ohtani’s agent, Nez Balelo, said that Ohtani is still looking at possible treatments. He said there will be some type of procedure but it may not be Tommy John surgery. He added that Ohtani will be ready to hit in 2024. #mlb #ohtani pic.twitter.com/ca3iG5TX1p
— claudia gestro 💫 (@claudiagestro) September 5, 2023
While Ohtani will continue to hit for the time being, Balelo did not commit to him hitting for the rest of the season. The future course of action regarding Ohtani’s UCL tear remains uncertain, with various options on the table.
Balelo acknowledged that Ohtani will eventually undergo some form of procedure, which could include the conventional Tommy John surgery or a noninvasive treatment involving stem cells and platelet-rich plasma.
A less-invasive bracing procedure is also an option, though it’s unclear if Ohtani qualifies for it.
Balelo expressed confidence that this injury is different from Ohtani’s previous UCL tear, which occurred five years ago. He highlighted that the current tear is on the lowest extremity of the right UCL, closer to the ulna and radius bones, whereas the previous tear was at the highest extremity, attached to the humerus.
“It’s completely different,” Balelo reassured, adding that Ohtani’s graft from the initial surgery remains intact with no issues.
While Balelo didn’t specify a timeline for Ohtani’s return to pitching, he remained optimistic about Ohtani’s future.
“Shohei’s going to be fine,” he said. “Is he going to pitch the rest of the year? No. We already know that. Is he going to get into next year? We don’t know yet. So just bear with me on that. But I do know this – no matter what timetable we’re dealing with and when we get this done, Shohei’s going to be in somebody’s lineup next year, DHing when the bell rings. We know that. We’re not going to push that. He’s going to be good to go.”
Ohtani has been a dominant force in Major League Baseball, excelling both as a pitcher and hitter. He won the American League MVP award unanimously in 2021 and was a frontrunner for the award this year before his injury, leading the majors in various offensive categories and posting impressive pitching stats.
What do you think Ohtani should do?
Are you concerned with him health-wise going forward?
What uniform will he be wearing in 2024?