Breaking News: Shohei Ohtani’s 2023 Season Cut Short – Find Out Why!

ANAHEIM — In a crushing blow to the Los Angeles Angels, Shohei Ohtani, the two-way superstar, was placed on the 15-day injured list due to right oblique inflammation. This unfortunate news brings an early end to one of the greatest individual seasons in Major League history. The Angels suffered a 5-4 loss in 10 innings to the Tigers.

Ohtani’s locker was emptied out after the Angels’ 11-2 loss to the Tigers on Friday. This marked the 11th consecutive game that he was unable to join the lineup. The initial oblique injury occurred while taking batting practice on September 4, and despite being day-to-day, Ohtani’s return to the lineup was repeatedly delayed.

Given that Ohtani also tore his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow in late August, the decision to place him on the injured list makes logical sense. He is already considered a favorite to win the AL MVP Award for the second time in three years. Surgery for the UCL tear is scheduled for next week, but the specifics of the procedure are yet to be determined, according to Angels’ general manager Perry Minasian.

Minasian explained, “In his mind, he thought there was a possibility for a procedure today, and that’s why he packed. It’s nothing malicious. There’s no story here. He’s so focused on, ‘Season’s over, I’ve gotta get ready for ’24.’ And that was what his mindset was. He’s planning on being here the last homestand. He’s going to be here today, tomorrow. I don’t have details on the procedure, but he wants to get it done as soon as he can.”

Ohtani may have a chance to avoid Tommy John surgery since the tear in his UCL is in a different location than his previous injury in 2018. However, this development adds a new element of uncertainty to his upcoming free agency, as it is highly unlikely that he will be able to pitch during the 2024 season. Nevertheless, Ohtani’s exceptional two-way abilities are expected to command a record-breaking contract in free agency.

Ohtani’s agent, Nez Balelo, stated that regardless of the surgery he undergoes, Ohtani will be ready to hit on Opening Day in 2024. Manager Phil Nevin and others within the organization express confidence in Ohtani’s ability to return as a two-way player after his elbow operation.

“Everything is going to go well for him,” Nevin said. “He’s going to attack his rehab and come back stronger than ever. I firmly believe that.”

Ohtani, 29, delivered the best offensive season of his career, batting .304/.412/.654 with 44 home runs, eight triples, 26 doubles, 95 RBIs, 102 runs, and 20 stolen bases in 135 games. He leads the AL in home runs, triples, and walks. Despite his UCL tear, he remained in the lineup as a designated hitter for 10 games. His oblique injury forced him to be benched just twice during the season.

On the mound, Ohtani achieved a 10-5 record with a 3.14 ERA and 167 strikeouts in 132 innings. However, he fell short of reaching the required 162 innings to qualify as a starting pitcher, unlike the previous year when he accomplished a 2.33 ERA in a career-high 166 innings.

“Shohei is one of a kind,” Minasian praised. “He’s a great player, great person. I think anybody that knows him or has a chance to be around him knows he’s a team guy. He’s a pretty special guy, a pretty special player, and it’s been a pleasure to have a chance to get to know him over the last three years. Hopefully, he’s here for a long time.”

Ohtani had an unforgettable season, receiving World Baseball Classic MVP honors for leading Team Japan to victory. He also earned All-Star recognition as both a pitcher and a hitter for the third consecutive year. As he enters free agency this offseason after a six-year tenure with the Angels, his future with the club remains uncertain.

The Angels have expressed their intention to re-sign Ohtani, but ultimately, the decision will be up to him. With numerous potential suitors and Ohtani’s emphasis on winning, his next move will undoubtedly be highly anticipated.

“It says a lot that he still plans to be here that last homestand,” Minasian emphasized. “He loves this place. And we love him.”


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