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Ohtani will not pitch until 2025 after second elbow surgery

The Japanese phenom has confirmed via social media that he has undergone his second surgical procedure and will not pitch next season.

(FILES) Shohei Ohtani sits on the bench in the fourth inning during a game against the Detroit Tigers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim, California, on September 16, 2023. Japanese baseball superstar Shohei Ohtani underwent surgery to repair his injured elbow on September 19, 2023, with a top sports injury surgeon stating that the Los Angeles Angels ace will be ready to hit and pitch again in 2025. Ohtani has not pitched since being diagnosed with a torn ligament in his right elbow last month, and has since been shut down for the remainder of the regular season after suffering a side strain. (Photo by John MCCOY / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

The landscape of MLB free agency has taken a giant swerve after Shohei Ohtani has confirmed via social media that he has undergone his second surgical procedure. It was not confirmed whether the procedure was another Tommy John surgery or another type of intervention, but what was made clear was that Ohtani will not pitch next season.

On his Instagram account, Ohtani said, “I had a procedure done on my elbow earlier this morning and everything went very well. Thank you very much for everyone’s prayers and kind words. 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. I will work as hard as I can and do my best to come back on the diamond stronger than ever.”

He ended the post with an emphatic, “Go Halos!!”

Dr Neal ElAttrache, who performed the surgery, released a statement saying, “The ultimate 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. I expect full recovery, and he’ll be ready to hit without any restrictions come Opening Day of 2024 and do both come 2025.”

Despite missing the last month of the 2023 season, Ohtani is still the favorite to win the AL MVP award. Widely expected to shatter all contract records in free agency next year, this potentially could alter the landscape.

After his first Tommy John surgery in 2018, Ohtani missed all of 2019 and made only two starts in 2020, before putting up blazing numbers over the past two seasons. This second surgery may see teams who were predicted to be hot bidders for his services think twice, offering a glimmer of hope for the Angels stated plan to try and keep him long-term.

It is likely that his new deal, with whichever team that may be, will still break records, although the top-end could be blunted to a more realistic and reachable number. Previously tipped to break the $500 million barrier, and perhaps even touch $600 million, it is now unclear just what Ohtani’s final price tag will be.


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