The Los Angeles Angels were concerned with a lingering blister on Japanese phenom and two way player, Shohei Ohtani’s, hand but on Friday, the was the least of their worries. On Wednesday Night, Ohtani left their game against the Kansas City Royals early with a blister on his right middle finger. Many pitchers in baseball deal with blisters and they can be a lingering issue if not treated with rest and given the proper time to heal.
The Angels announced that they placed Ohtani on the 10 day disabled list but the blister is a much smaller issue than the underlying injury that is bothering Ohtani. The Angels stated that Ohtani is dealing with a Grade 2 Sprain of his UCL. What that basically means is he has some sort of damage to his ulnar collateral ligament but it is not a complete tear. This is not good news for Ohtani or the Angels as this could turn into something much larger and potentially season ending.
Ohtani received an injection on Thursday of platelet-rich plasma and stem-cells and the Angels organization plans to reevaluate things in a few weeks. These type of injuries are never good for a pitcher and could be reason for concern for a future Tommy John Surgery. That being said, Grade 2 sprains don’t always require Tommy John Surgery but if it is any worse, as in Grade 3, then Tommy John Surgery is usually required to repair the damage. Ohtani and the Angels will do everything in their power to prevent the surgery but it may be inevitable if the injection does not take.
Injuries are not new to Ohtani. When he signed with the Angels back in December, it was discovered during a physical that he had a first degree sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow that nearly caused the Angels to cancel negotiations and part ways with the star player. Ohtani also dealt with blisters back in April but they were not as much of an issue as they are now.
Ohtani is 4-1 in 9 starts in the MLB. He has a 3.10 ERA, allowing 36 hits and 17 earned runs over 49.1 innings on the mound for the Angels. Ohtani is also hitting .289 at the plate with 6 home runs and 20 RBI’s.
It is expected the Ohtani will miss at least 3 weeks but the Angels could very well be safe and just hold him out until after the All-Star Break, if he is able to return at all? It will really depend on his recovery and the plan of action the team doctors recommend for the 23 year Japanese player. Whenever you have a pitcher that can throw upwards of 100 mph, it becomes a real concern when they have a partially injured UCL because one pitch could realistically tear the UCL completely and place him on the sidelines for a minimum of a year. Angels fans will simply have to wait patiently until July and hope for the best for Ohtani.