When the Angels announced in August that Shohei Ohtani wouldn’t pitch anymore this season due to a tear in his elbow, many immediately wondered how it would impact the phenomenal two-way player’s free agency this offseason.
Would his value be hurt by his pitching future being uncertain? Would he need a second Tommy John Surgery?
While the answers to both of those questions remain unclear, The Athletic’s Cody Stavenhagen took a look at the situation and discussed Tommy John Surgery with hitters who have had the procedure in the past.
It strikes some as a bit strange that, even though he’s still playing as a designated hitter, Ohtani is putting off the surgery. Texas Rangers shortstop Corey Seager, who hurt his elbow in early 2018 with the Dodgers and missed the rest of the season after getting Tommy John Surgery, is among those who don’t understand the decision, saying, “That’s why I don’t know why he’s not (getting surgery) now. At least at that point, you’d be able to hit by the middle of next year.”
The flip side, however, is this would be Ohtani’s second Tommy John Surgery. The first one took place in September 2018 and kept Ohtani off the pitchers’ mound for all of 2019, although he was able to come back as a DH in May. “The risks are higher [the second time], so you try to go as slow and methodical as you can,” orthopedic surgeon Dr. Eric Bowman noted.