The SoftBank Hawks had interest in A-Rod this past winter

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In a development whose significance will be mostly felt by columnists looking for new angles with which to mock and marginalize Alex Rodriguez, we learn this from the New York Times:

Last November, the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks reached out to the Yankees through an intermediary and expressed interest in obtaining Rodriguez, according to two baseball officials who were told of the informal inquiry. The Yankees never engaged the Hawks in discussions because they knew it could not work for two obvious reasons.

Obvious reasons: A-Rod has no-trade protection and the Hawks didn’t realize that A-Rod was slated for hip surgery that was going to keep him out months.

Too bad. It would be a lot of fun to see all of the people who say they wished A-Rod would just go away constantly talking about what A-Rod was doing in Japan.

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.