It has been a long few weeks for Shohei Ohtani, the Angels, and their fans. However, good news came on Thursday as Ohtani was given a second MRI, where progress was found.
What started as a blister for Shohei Ohtani quickly snowballed into a nightmare scenario. The blister was found to be caused by extra effort due to a Grade 2 UCL strain in Ohtani’s right arm. General manager Billy Eppler quickly shut down Ohtani, and told reporters it would be three weeks until an update.
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News outlets everywhere decided to speculate, including saying Ohtani would not play until 2020 due to a likely Tommy John surgery. However, all of those reports were false, and the news received on Thursday was very positive.
The MRI showed that Ohtani’s UCL was healing, meaning the PRP injections given three weeks ago have been working, and healing is happening. Eppler said Ohtani would begin hitting immediately, and could see live pitches as soon as this weekend. He was seen taking one-armed swings over the past few weeks, along with standing in for live pitches to keep his timing up to date.
The Angels still are not certain if they’ll be getting their 3.10 ERA pitcher back this season, and only time will tell. Eppler said Ohtani’s treatment will be a day-to-day process. Perhaps he can come back as a starter down the line, or maybe the Angels can use him out of the bullpen. If they aren’t in contention for the postseason towards the end of the season though, don’t expect to see Ohtani take the mound this year.
Since Ohtani went to the DL on June 6, the Angels have been scoring 3.72 runs per game, which is absolutely pathetic. Prior to losing Ohtani, they were scoring 4.6 runs per game. While he did not hit every game, the Angels team has just seemed depleted since Ohtani’s injury.
His .289 average, six home runs, and 20 RBI’s will be a welcome addition to an Angels lineup that has been struggling mightily recently. Hopefully it turns them back into playoff contenders, and Ohtani can return to his form from earlier this year.