New Angel Shohei Ohtani Has a Damaged UCL in Pitching Elbow

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim owner Arte Moreno introduces Shohei Ohtani. AFP

A first-degree sprain is the least severe and this physical was distributed to Major League Baseball teams as soon as Ohtani entered the posting system, so there's no real reason for immediate panic.

New Angels acquisition Shohei Ohtani had a procedure on his elbow in October to attempt to fix a first-degree sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, according to a physical obtained by Yahoo Sports.

Ohtani should be able to pitch through the first-degree sprain, but any further damage would likely require season-ending Tommy John surgery. But Angels general manager Billy Eppler told Yahoo Sports, "We are pleased with the results of the physical and we are very happy to have the player".

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BC-BBA-Angels-Ohtani, 3rd Ld-Writethru, 600 Japanese star pitcher-hitter Shohei Ohtani to join AngelsAP Photo NY198, NY199, NY197, NY196, NY195Eds: Updates with Angels comment.

Ohtani, the 23-year-old right-handed pitcher and left-handed power hitter who signed with the Angels on Saturday after a frenzied recruiting process, has a first-degree sprain of his right UCL, according to a report dated November 28 and performed by Dr. Masamitsu Tsuchiya at Doai Kinen Hospital in Tokyo.

Ohtani missed much of the 2017 season in Japan with a right ankle injury that ultimately required surgery in October and was expected to sideline him for three months this winter. Ohtani will sign a minor league contract and can receive up to $2,315,000 in worldwide bonus money. "Worst-case scenario, if he loses two years, even if you wind up paying $60 million for four years, he's still a bargain". And while many pitchers play through ligament tears, the PRP may indicate this injury could be more than minor. He hit.332 in 65 games with eight homers and 31 RBIs. While he has occasionally struggled with control, Ohtani is widely thought to be a surefire big league pitching prospect. He also was 10-4 with a 1.86 ERA.

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