Shoulder setback sends Flores to Dr. Andrews

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When the Nationals signed Ivan Rodriguez to a two-year, $6 million deal I wondered, among other things, why they were paying so much for another catcher when they already had 25-year-old Jesus Flores atop the depth chart.
At the time Flores was recovering from shoulder surgery, but most reports had him being ready as soon as Opening Day. Fast forward three months and his status for all of 2010 appears to be in jeopardy. Flores became frustrated with his recovery after being unable to throw from 120 feet Monday and is headed to Alabama for a visit with Dr. James Andrews.
Rather than a typical examination, Flores is expected to spend 10 days with Andrews for “treatment and evaluation.” Jim Riggleman said this morning that Flores will begin the season on the disabled list regardless of what Andrews recommends, and as is the case any time a player sees baseball’s most famous doctor another surgery could be right around the corner.
Either way Rodriguez is now the Nationals’ unquestioned starting catcher and Wil Nieves is now his backup. I’m still not sure why they needed to give a two-year, $6 million deal to a 38-year-old catcher who hit .249/.280/.384 last season, but if the Nationals had serious doubts about Flores’ recovery all along their motivation for pursuing Rodriguez is certainly easier to understand.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.