Shohei Ohtani's rookie season is likely over.
"Everything I'm hearing is that the reality is, he probably will need Tommy John surgery. ... The earliest we might see him, should he have TJ surgery, would be the 2020 season."
Ohtani, 23, was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of his UCL last week. Angels GM Billy Eppler released a statement stating their diagnosis remains the same, despite reports, per Ken Rosenthal of MLB on Fox: “There have been no changes in Ohtani’s diagnosis and neither our physicians nor medical staff have recommended [Tommy John surgery] or said it’s likely.”
Ohtani underwent platelet-rich plasma and stem cell injections to hopefully repair the damage, with the plan of reevaluating his status in three weeks.
"We're hopeful that he can, that it is completely treatable with the biologic prescription the doctors recommended," Eppler told reporters last week.
"I'm just going to take every day as it comes and put him on this course of recovery and strengthening for the next three weeks and then deal with what we've got to deal with in three weeks' time."
As one of the most touted Japanese players in history, Ohtani has fit the bill during his rookie season. He is 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA and 1.14 WHIP, striking out 61 batters in 49.1 innings. Also serving as a designated hitter on some off days, Ohtani has slashed .289/.372/.535 with six home runs and 20 RBI.
The Angels will hope to follow Garrett Richards' blueprint, as he avoided Tommy John in 2016 by receiving stem cell treatment.
Ohtani also had a platelet-rich plasma injection on his right pitching elbow in October.