Shohei Ohtani has a Grade 2 UCL sprain. He was placed on the disabled list last week. Over the weekend, the prognosis got even worse. ESPN’s Pedro Gomez is reporting Tommy John surgery is likely, meaning the dual-threat player could be out until 2020.
It’s tough to state just how big of a blow this will be for the Los Angeles Angels, a team desperate for postseason success in desperate need of his services; for Ohtani, who has done nothing but channel Babe Ruth so far; and finally, for fans of baseball, who have been privy to an incredible thrill ride with a player unlike any in recent history.
Ohtani is 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA as a pitcher. He’s posted a .289/.372/.535 as a hitter. The only governor on his potential has been the Angels’ reluctance to overuse him. It’s devastating that he suffered this serious injury even as those handling him wore kid gloves.
If the worst is true, we’ll be robbed of seeing a transcendent star come into his own in the most unique of terms. His chances of becoming the “Face of Baseball (which is sadly an important honor) will take a massive hit. And that’s if he comes back fully healthy and with the same skill set. With Tommy John, that’s not guaranteed.
With the NBA season ending and World Cup interest neutered by no United States involvement, Major League Baseball had a great chance to own the next few months and introduce Ohtani to the masses. That’s also gone.
Just a major buzzkill for everyone directly and tangentially involved.