Shohei Ohtani

Angels' Shohei Ohtani has UCL tear, won't pitch again in 2023 season

Ohtani may have pitched his last game with the Angels

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Shohei Ohtani's historic 2023 MLB season and impending free agency took an unexpected turn when Los Angeles general manager Perry Minasian announced Wednesday night that the two-way superstar sustained a torn UCL in his right elbow.

Ohtani sustained the injury in Game 1 of the Angels' doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds, and he will not pitch again this season.

"Obviously disappointing news," Minasian told reporters late Wednesday night. "I feel terrible for him. But it is what it is. And if anybody can bounce back, it's him.

"It's obviously unfortunate, but I think him playing the second game says a lot about the guy, right? How much he likes playing and how much his teammates mean to him, this place means to him. Pretty impressive."

The 29-year-old Ohtani underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018. In 2019, he was able to hit but not pitch, and if he needs surgery again, that likely would be how he is used in 2024, whether he re-signs with the Angels or signs a lucrative free-agent contract elsewhere.

Making his first start since Aug. 9, Ohtani pitched 1 1/3 innings against the Reds on Wednesday before leaving the game. Prior to exiting, he hit his 44th homer of the season.

Ohtani played in the second game of the doubleheader despite sustaining the injury a few hours earlier.

Ohtani is expected to land the largest free-agent contract in MLB history this offseason, but this injury complicates matters.

The Giants have been linked to Ohtani and likely will heavily pursue him this winter, though it's too early to tell how a second UCL tear will impact cause teams to view him.

Ohtani is in the midst of arguably one of the greatest seasons in MLB history. In 126 games as the Angels' designated hitter, he is hitting .304/.406/.659 with 22 doubles, seven triples, 44 homers and 91 RBI. He leads MLB with a 1.065 OPS. On the mound, he finishes with a 3.17 ERA and 167 strikeouts in 132 innings.

While Ohtani won't pitch again this season, he's expected to continue hitting, adding to his already historic season.

But once the Angels' season ends, the focus shifts to whether or not Ohtani needs another surgical procedure and how that impacts his free-agent market.

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