The season ended as a pitcher, and the value of free agents plummeted… Ohtani laughed. Oh my God, have you seen this kind of mentality?
Although he ended the mound as a pitcher for the rest of the season due to a ruptured elbow ligament, Ohtani Shohei (29, LA Angels) did not break his heart. Even in a desperate situation, he went on a business trip as a batter and even smiled during the game.스포츠토토 The leader was impressed by the mentality on a different level.
On the 24th (hereinafter Korean time), Ohtani started the first game of the double header against the Cincinnati Reds in the 2023 Major League Baseball held at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, USA. After the game against the San Francisco Giants on the 10th, he took 14 days off as a pitcher, but it was not normal.
Ohtani, who neatly blocked the first inning with two strikeouts and a tripartite, gave up a walk to Spencer Steer in the second inning, then threw Joey Votto into a shortstop fly ball. Ohtani’s expression distorted after throwing the 5th pitch to Christian Encarnacion-Strand at bat in the ensuing 1 out 1 base. After signing the dugout, he complained of pain in his elbow and went down the mound himself.
The average velocity of a four-seam fastball was 93.1 miles (149.8 km), which was 3.8 miles (6.1 km) lower than the season average. It was Ohtani who hit the 44th home run of the season with two runs in his first at-bat in the first inning as the designated hitter No. 2, but was not in an elbow condition to throw the ball normally. After passing the mound to Tyler Anderson, Ohtani’s condition was more serious than expected.
According to local media such as MLB.com, the Angels team initially announced the reason for Ohtani’s replacement as ‘arm fatigue’, but as a result of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) between the first and second games of the double header, the right elbow medial collateral ligament (UCL) damage was found. There is a way to endure through rehabilitation by receiving injections, but most of the pitchers who rupture UCL undergo Tommy John surgery.
“Ohtani is not pitching anymore this season,” said Angels general manager Perry Minassian. I will make a decision after hearing the second opinion, but now I have to see the condition every day. “We will get more information in the future,” he said. After taking the MRI, we briefly discussed the situation, so we need to talk to Agent Ohtani as well.”
This is the second time Ohtani has suffered a UCL tear injury, the same injury in his first year with the Angels in 2018. On June 9 of that year, Ohtani, who gave up pitching and played only as a hitter after being placed on the injured list, underwent Tommy John surgery in October after the season. In 2019, he did not play as a pitcher, but only as a batter, and returned as a pitcher in July 2020 after 1 year and 10 months.
However, his season as a pitcher ended with a right arm flexor and pronator sprain after two games back. The opinion that he should give up pitching was strong, but Ohtani, who continued to pitch and hit, showed his competitiveness as a pitcher by playing an active role in 2021 with 9 wins, 2 losses, an average ERA of 3.18 and 156 strikeouts in 23 games (130⅓ innings). He also hit 46 homers as a hitter and wrote a new history of double-duty pitching as the American League (AL) unanimous MVP.
Last year, in 28 games (166 innings), 15 wins, 9 losses, an average ERA of 2.33, and 219 strikeouts, he showed an upgraded appearance as a pitcher. Ohtani, who ranked 4th in the American League (AL) Cy Young Young, showed off his power this year with 10 wins, 5 losses, 3.14 ERA and 167 strikeouts in 23 games (132 innings). He posted two consecutive double-digit wins and was considered one of the AL Cy Young candidates, but missed the race with an elbow injury.
Ohtani skipped an away game against the Texas Rangers last week due to fatigue. From this point on, he showed abnormalities in his physical condition, but general manager Minasian said, “Until today, Ohtani did not complain of any abnormalities in his elbow. He only dealt with blisters on his right middle finger and spasms from dehydration, but nothing was said about his elbow. After his first substitution today, he spoke of elbow pain,” he said, admitting that he did not anticipate Ohtani’s elbow injury.
MLB.com said, “The injury came at the worst possible time for Ohtani, who is scheduled to become a free agent after the season and is facing the biggest contract in major league history.” He won’t be on the mound in 2024 if he has to undergo a second Tommy John surgery, which has a much lower success rate than the first. It may take longer than that, and this will reduce the value of Ohtani,’ he predicted, not a double business, but a decline in Ohtani’s market value.
ESPN also said, “It can’t be a shocking twist for Ohtani, who was expected to be the biggest free agent in baseball history.” It will have a significant impact in the Ohtani free agency fight, where many expect a contract worth more than $500 million.’
Director Minassian said, “It is disappointing and regrettable, but I have no choice but to accept it. If it’s Ohtani, he can fully recover from his injuries and stand up again. No limits can be placed on him. I think he will be able to come back and show the same ability as before.” If it is Ohtani’s extraordinary mentality and willpower, he has the belief that he will be able to overcome and remain.
After the first game of the double header that day, the seriousness of the elbow injury was confirmed, but Ohtani said, “Can I play tonight (the second game of the double header)? I want to play again tonight,” he said, burning his will to go to the game. In fact, Ohtani, who came out as the designated hitter in the second match, scored 1 hit and 1 run in 5 at-bats. In particular, when changing pitchers after hitting a double from the right in the 5th inning, he showed a broad smile while talking with Cincinnati shortstop Ellie de la Cruz.
As the season ends as a pitcher, the value of the free agent market may drop significantly. However, Ohtani continued to play the game as a batsman as usual and did not lose his smile. General manager Minassian said, “I have seen many players react differently in situations like this, but Ohtani was professional. His heart was not shaken, and he said he wanted to play the second game as well. I think it showed how much Ohtani loves baseball and how much he values his teammates and this place. It was really impressive. Ohtani is mentally strong. That’s why he can do things like that.”
The Angels’ fall baseball was virtually thwarted, but Ohtani’s work ethic is highly likely to complete the rest of the season as a hitter. General manager Minassian said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if Ohtani goes to New York (from the 26th) and is included in the lineup. I know how much he wants to play. However, it is also important for him to get a second opinion. After he gets all the information he has to make an appropriate judgment. We will help with whatever it is.”