Angels New Phenom Shohei Ohtani Has Damaged Elbow Ligament

Shohei Ohtani’s pitching elbow may not be major league ready after all. According to Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan, Ohtani has a first-degree sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. While that is a the least-severe UCL injury, if things get worse he could require surgery.

The Los Angeles Angeles apparently knew about the elbow issue before they signed the Japanese phenom.

Here’s what Angels GM Billy Eppler told Yahoo! Sports about the issue:

“Shohei underwent a thorough physical with MRI scans to both his elbow and his shoulder. Those are scans we conduct whenever we sign a pitcher. Based on the readings of those MRIs, there are not signs of acute trauma in the elbow. It looks consistent with players his age. We are pleased with the results of the physical and we are very happy to have the player.”

We’ve seen minor elbow injuries rapidly turn worse before, so you wonder if the Angels just go all-in and have Ohtani get surgery. A torn UCL almost always results in Tommy John surgery, and given that Ohtani is only 23, it might be best to have him get the surgery over with if rehab doesn’t go well.

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