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Angels’ Pitcher Shohei Ohtani Out With Elbow Injury

Angels’ Pitcher Shohei Ohtani Out With Elbow InjuryLos Angeles Angels’ rookie pitcher, Shohei Ohtani has been placed on the disabled list (DL) due to a sprained elbow. The amount of time Ohtani is expected to sit out depends on his rate of recovery and whether surgery will be needed.

The sprain was discovered while Ohtani was being treated for a blister on his finger. During the treatment, he told personnel that he was experiencing stiffness in his elbow. Tests revealed a Grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL).

A sprain occurs when ligaments are stretched or torn. In Ohtani’s case, the UCL was torn. The UCL is located on the inner side of the elbow and helps to secure the elbow joint.

The rookie was given both platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell injections and ordered to rest his arm. He will have another evaluation in three weeks to determine if treatment was effective. Should the evaluation determine treatment has not been effective, Ohtani may need surgery and could remain on the DL well into the 2019 season.

The surgery, often referred to as “Tommy John Surgery,” involves taking a healthy tendon from the patient’s own body (usually an arm or leg) and using the donor tendon to reconstruct the UCL. The surgery was named after Tommy John, a baseball pitcher who was the first person to have the surgery and return to his sport.

Ohtani’s injury could keep him from returning to baseball for as long as three years, depending on what capacity he plans to return in. Ohtani is major-league baseball’s first regular two-way player (pitcher and designated hitter) in over 100 years and has been regarded as the finest since Babe Ruth.

The injury news is especially upsetting due to the fact that the 23-year-old pitcher from Japan forfeited at least $200 Million in free agency to play major-league baseball two years early. Had Ohtani waited until he was 25 years old, there would have been no international spending limits.

The good news, however, is that pitchers have been known to tear their UCL and recover without surgery. Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees underwent PRP injections and returned back to the pitcher’s mound just two months later. Hopes are high that Ohtani doesn’t need surgery and returns to baseball quickly, too.