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OC Register: Angels’ Shohei Ohtani has no regrets about delaying Tommy John surgery last year


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TEMPE, Ariz. — As Shohei Ohtani prepares to miss the start of this season, he said he has no regrets about playing the end of last season.

Ohtani was told on Sept. 5 that he needed Tommy John surgery, but he opted to continue playing as a hitter. He eventually had surgery on Oct. 1.

Now that Ohtani is expected to make his 2019 debut sometime in May, it’s worth wondering if Ohtani had any regrets about waiting on surgery.

“I knew there was a possibility that I might not make it on opening day, but I felt like last year when the doctor told me I needed Tommy John, I was swinging the bat rally well and seeing the ball really well, so I wanted to get that experience to finish out the season,” Ohtani said through his interpreter after the Angels’ first workout of the spring on Wednesday.

“I think that’s ultimately going to help this season. I might miss the first month, but in the long run I think it’s going to help myself and the team.”

Ohtani played 23 games after learning he needed Tommy John surgery. Starting with his two-homer game the day he got the diagnosis, Ohtani hit .313 with six homers and a .991 OPS over those final games.

The final weeks of offensive production may have been instrumental in him winning the American League Rookie of the Year.

Now, the Angels aren’t sure when they will have that bat back in their lineup. Ohtani said his goal is to return sometime in May, but he knows that he must move cautiously, to avoid a setback.

After swinging the bat — without a ball — a few times, Ohtani said the process is “going very smooth.”

“So far there is nothing in my elbow,” he said. “I don’t feel anything there. I feel great. I just need to watch my effort level, try to keep it down and listen to the trainers.”

For now, Ohtani is doing his work inside, in the trainers room, the weight room and the batting cage. He did not take the field with his teammates for the first workout for pitchers and catchers.


Nick Tropeano just resumed throwing after having a setback with his injured shoulder in December, leaving him doubtful to be ready by opening day. Tropeano had been considered a candidate for the starting rotation, although Jaime Barría is the favorite for the last spot. Tropeano returned from Tommy John surgery 12 months ago, but he’s been dogged by shoulder issues for most of the time since. “It’s really frustrating,” Tropeano said. “People don’t realize the work that goes on behind the scenes. When you have another setback, you just have to keep that positive attitude.”…

JC Ramírez said he’s thrown five bullpen sessions in his rehab from Tommy John surgery. He’s at about 60 percent full velocity. Ramírez is targeting an early June return, although it’s not yet determined if he’ll be in the rotation or bullpen. …

Keynan Middleton, who had Tommy John surgery a few weeks after Ramírez last April, is not yet throwing off a mound.

Alex Meyer revealed that he had arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder in November, right before the Angels removed him from the 40-man roster. Meyer has had two shoulder surgeries since he last pitched in the majors in July 2017. He’s back with the Angels on a minor league deal. He said he’s two weeks away from beginning to throw.

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14 hours ago, GrittyVeterans said:

It was a stupid decision to not get the surgery ASAP since we were out of the race

For the Ohtani it was a great decision which afforded him an award that he could only achieve with full rookie status. For the Angels it was a win because not only did they get to gauge what his future value as a DH would be they also can market him as the phenom Rookie of the Year. 

It was a win/win. 

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