Bob Levey/Getty Images

Shohei Ohtani has new damage to UCL, Angels recommend Tommy John surgery

27 Comments

Angels P/DH Shohei Ohtani recently returned to the mound, starting on Sunday  against the Astros. He lasted only 2 1/3 innings, yielding two runs on two hits and two walks with two strikeouts. Ohtani stayed in the mid- to high-90’s with his fastball velocity for the first two innings but was down in the low-90’s in the third inning before departing.

Ohtani underwent an MRI on Wednesday, which revealed new UCL damage. The Angels have recommended the right-hander undergo Tommy John surgery, as detailed in the club’s announcement.

Ohtani, 24, didn’t pitch between June 6 and September 2, but returned as a hitter on July 3. He was originally diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of the UCL in his right elbow. The thought was that he wouldn’t pitch again this season, but Ohtani progressed faster than anticipated. Given that the 67-72 Angels haven’t been seriously involved in either the AL West or Wild Card races, one has to wonder if the decision to have him return to the mound this season was misguided.

If Ohtani does go under the knife as expected, he will miss the entire 2019 season and almost certainly some of the 2020 season as well.

Ohtani has hit .276/.355/.547 with 16 home runs and 44 RBI in 274 plate appearances. As a pitcher, he went 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA and a 63/22 K/BB ratio in 51 2/3 innings. We truly haven’t seen a season like Ohtani’s — or a player like Ohtani — in a long time, so his performance this year has been truly remarkable.

Update: Per Jeff Fletcher of the Southern California News Group, Ohtani is in Wednesday’s lineup and he is expected to travel with the team to Chicago to close out a road trip against the White Sox this weekend. So he’s at least going to continue functioning as a DH until he decides what to do about his elbow.

Nationals’ major leaguers to continue offering financial assistance to minor leaguers

Sean Doolittle
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
1 Comment

On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.

After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.

Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.

The full statement:

Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.

We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.

We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.

Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.