Shohei Ohtani has a torn UCL and will not pitch again in the 2023 season, according to Anaheim Angels general manager Perry Minasian. Minasian made the announcement last night after the Angels were swept by the Cincinnati Reds in a doubleheader.
Ohtani started game one of the doubleheader, but was lifted in the second inning due to arm soreness. Ohtani underwent an MRI between games of the doubleheader, which revealed the torn UCL. Despite the torn UCL, Ohtani will continue to DH, and was 1 for 5 in the second game of the doubleheader.
Ohtani suffered a UCL tear in 2018 and, after attempting to go the non-surgical route, ended up having Tommy John surgery in 2018. It has yet to be determined whether he will need a second Tommy John surgery, which would keep him from pitching in 2024.
Ohtani is a free agent at season’s end, and the Angels opted to be buyers at the trade deadline in the hopes of making a playoff push while they still had Ohtani. Instead, the Angels have plummeted in the standings, and are currently 61-67, 10.5 games out of a Wild Card spot.
This injury will likely have a big impact on Ohtani’s pending free agency, as well. Ohtani was expected to command a record deal as a two-way player who is both a legitimate #1 starter and one of the best hitters in the game. A second Tommy John surgery would not just keep him off the mound in 2024, but would raise concerns about how long he will be able to keep pitching at a high level.
Adding insult to injury for Anaheim, the Angels also announced that Mike Trout will be returning to the injured list. Trout was activated from the injured list on Tuesday after missing seven weeks with a wrist and went 1 for 4, but did not play in yesterday’s doubleheader. Trout is still dealing with soreness that has led the Angels to put him back on the injured list.