The MLB Hot Stove is heating up and heating up quickly. The MLB Winter Meetings are going strong. These things we expected, but the news that came out from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports late Tuesday night wasn’t expected. Passan reported that new Los Angeles Angels 2-way star Shohei Ohtani has a first degree UCL sprain.
OH NOOOOOOOOOO. The twitter world blew up when this news dropped. There were the Angles haters laughing, the Angels fans with the WTF and then the others doing their best Aaron Rodgers R-E-L-A-X.
Angels GM Billy Eppler would be in the relax camp. Eppler said the team new about the injury, it is a minor sprain and he will be fine to pitch in 2018. All of this is true. Ohtani has a first degree UCL sprain, the least severe of all the UCL sprains. Most players play through this injury, many have the same injury and it’s just normal wear and tear on a pitcher’s arm. Could it lead to Tommy John surgery? Sure but that’s if a complete tear occurs.
To help with the pain and the healing, Ohtani had a platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection on October 20th. Ohtani’s agent said these injections are common in Japan, that many use the PRP injections more as a preventative measure than a reactive measure. Players can start throwing a month after the injection and reports are swirling that Ohtani was seen playing catch a few days ago when he returned to Japan from Anaheim.
As stated above, this is a common practice in Japan and we’ve also seen this in the MLB with pitchers like Masahiro Tanaka and Chris Sale. Many thought Tanaka should have had Tommy John surgery, but he chose the PRP injection and things have been ok. While Sale has been excellent and many wouldn’t even know he had arm issues.
By no means am I saying to not have some concern as UCL injuries are no joke and Ohtani does throw 98 MPH with some nasty offspeed pitches. At the same time I’d say relax. The Angels and the other clubs in the mix did their due diligence when pursuing Ohtani and they know what’s going on way more than we do.
Bright side for the Angels if he does need TJ surgery…..he doesn’t cost much and you can afford to let him rehab. He should be just fine. If he wasn’t fine and needed TJ, wouldn’t he have stayed in Japan, rehabbed there, pitched another year and then come to the USA when he was 25+ and could make millions of dollars? That’s my 2 cents on the matter.
Fantasy Angle- I wasn’t going to overpay for Ohtani anyways, but this has to scare some teams off. The Angels were already dealing with Ohtani with kid gloves anyways and that shouldn’t change much.