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Not Again! Ohtani Tears UCL, Won't Pitch For The Rest of the Season; Trout Back to IL As Well

Aug. 24, 2023

Morgan Killian-Moseley

Just when things were starting to look up on the injury front for the Los Angeles Angels, disaster strikes yet again.

Two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani was diagnosed with a torn ulnar cruciate ligament in his right elbow. As a result, he will not pitch again this season. It is expected, however, that Ohtani will remain active as the Angels' designated hitter.

This is the second time Ohtani has torn his UCL, the first required him to undergo Tommy John Surgery at the end of the 2018 regular season which reduced him to DH only in 2019.

As if Ohtani's injury wasn't enough, center fielder Mike Trout was placed back on the injured list one day after coming off, his left hand still not fully healed.

Sadly for the Angels it has become abundantly clear that the faces of their franchise have become, in video game terms, "glass cannons". When they're on the field, Ohtani and Trout are game changers. But they are highly injury-prone and can no longer be counted on to play to their full potential for a full season.

If Ohtani does get his second Tommy John surgery he will in all likelihood be unable to pitch for 2024, and possibly longer. And while he will still DH, he'll likely start the season on the IL.

As Ohtani is due to hit the free agent market this November, all potential suitors, including the Angels, have to consider Ohtani's future both as a hitter and as a pitcher. Considering how difficult it is to return to pitching at a Major League-caliber level after multiple Tommy John surgeries, it may be time for Ohtani to consider abandoning pitching altogether, as Babe Ruth chose to. If he does not, some analysts have suggested he make the transition to the bullpen for days he's not in the lineup.

As for Trout, last year he was diagnosed with a rare spinal dysfunction, which may very well hinder him for the rest of his career and possibly beyond. While it's not known if that condition affects the rest of his body, the possibility may be worth investigating; for both Trout's sake and those of his family. The Angels owe it to the man widely regarded as the best player in franchise history to determine if his career or more is at risk.

In any case, Angels fans have to be feeling like they've been trapped in a recurring nightmare for the past decade or so. And as much as they may look to the heavens, there seems to be no salvation in sight.


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