September 26, 2023

La Ronge Northerner

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Shohei Ohtani will miss the rest of the 2023 season

Shohei Ohtani will miss the rest of the 2023 season

ANAHEIM — One of the greatest single seasons in major league history officially ended early Saturday, as doubles star Shohei Ohtani was placed on the 15-day injured list with right oblique inflammation before the Angels’ 5-4 10-inning loss to the Tigers.

Ohtani’s locker was cleaned out after Friday’s 11-2 loss to the Tigers, the 11th straight game he was left out of the lineup. He initially suffered his oblique injury during batting practice on September 4. He stuck out day after day and was even in the lineup Monday in Seattle before being scratched.

The decision makes sense, especially since Ohtani also tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on August 23. He’s also already considered a lock to win the AL MVP award for the second time in three years. Ohtani is scheduled to undergo surgery for a torn LCL as soon as next week, although general manager Perry Minasian said before Saturday’s game that he did not know whether Ohtani would undergo a second Tommy John surgery or a different procedure.

“I think in his mind he thought there was a possibility of surgery today, so that’s why he packed his bags,” Minassian said. “There’s nothing malicious. There’s no story here. He’s very focused on, ‘The season’s over, I’ve got to get ready for 24.'” And that’s been his mentality. He plans to be here at the last home. He will be here today and tomorrow. “I don’t have details about the procedure, but he wants to get it done as soon as possible.”

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There’s a possibility Ohtani can avoid Tommy John surgery because his torn LCL is in a different place than it was in 2018, but either way, it puts a new wrinkle on his upcoming free agency, as he’s unlikely to pitch in 2024. Ohtani, though, is still expected to receive a record deal in free agency due to his unique two-way prowess.

His agent, Nez Balillo, said Ohtani will be ready to hit on Opening Day in 2024, regardless of what type of surgery he has. Head coach Phil Nevin was one of many in the organization who expressed confidence in Ohtani’s return as a dual player after his elbow operation.

“Everything will be fine for him,” Nevin said. “He will attack his rehab and come back stronger than ever. I firmly believe in that.”

Ohtani, 29, had the best offensive season of his six-year career and hit .304/.412/.654 with 44 homers, eight triples, 26 doubles, 95 RBIs, 102 runs scored, and 20 stolen bases in 135 games. He leads the AL in crawls, triples and walks. He also played in 10 games as a designated hitter after suffering a torn MLB, as he wanted to stay in the lineup. He was left out of the lineup only twice during the season before suffering an oblique injury.

“Shuhei is unique,” ​​Minassian said. “He’s a great player, a great person. I think anyone who knows him or has a chance to be around him knows he’s a team man. He’s a very special man, a very special player, and it’s been a pleasure to have the opportunity to get to know him over the last three years. I hope he stays Here for a long time.”

It was another stellar season that saw Ohtani win the World Baseball Classic MVP award in leading Team Japan to the title, while also being named an All-Star as a pitcher and hitter for the third straight season. After six years with the Angels, his future with the club is uncertain, as he heads into free agency during the offseason.

The Angels have made it clear that they plan to try to re-sign Ohtani this offseason, but it will ultimately be up to him, as he will have plenty of suitors and has stated in the past how important winning is to him.

“Many say he still plans to stay here in his final home,” Minassian said. “He loves this place. We love him.”