Shohei Ohtani Reportedly Dealing with Elbow Injury

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2017

ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 09:  Shohei Ohtani speaks onstage during his introduction to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on December 9, 2017 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

Shohei Ohtani, who recently committed to the Los Angeles Angeles following a lengthy recruitment process, is reportedly nursing an elbow injury that could wind up having serious long-term ramifications if it's aggravated further.

According to Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan, a physical obtained Tuesday shows Ohtani was previously diagnosed with a first-degree UCL sprain in his right (throwing) elbow.

Passan added that while the injury is not particularly serious, "further damage could lead to Tommy John surgery, a reconstructive procedure that sidelines pitchers for a year."

Angels GM Billy Epler told reporters Ohtani went through a physical, and the elbow showed "no signs of acute or new trauma in the elbow," and noted the state of the elbow was "consistent" with similarly aged pitchers. 

The news comes one day after Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci reported Ohtani "underwent a platelet-rich plasma injection on his right elbow in October" that was described as "a preventative measure" by his agent, Nez Balelo.

"Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists...he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program," the physical says, according to Passan.

On top of that, Ohtani underwent arthroscopic right ankle surgery in October. However, his recovery is reportedly expected to be complete before the start of spring training.

Ohtani, who committed to the Angels on Friday, is expected to contribute on the mound and at the plate as a true two-way player.

During his final season with Japan's Nippon Ham Fighters, Ohtani recorded 29 strikeouts and 19 walks in a small 25.1-inning sample because of a hamstring issue. He also slashed .332/.403/.540 with eight home runs and 31 RBI in 231 plate appearances during the truncated campaign.

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