Missed for more than 10 days → Ohtani, who cleaned up the locker room, is finally confirmed to be out of the season

LA Angels Shohei Ohtani, who was unable to overcome injury problems despite a phenomenal season, finally finished the 2023 season.

On the 17th (Korean time), the Angels placed Ohtani on the 10-day injured list (IL) and announced that they do not plan to play in games for the remainder of the season. The Angels have 14 games left, including today’s game against the Detroit Tigers.

Previously, local American media reported on the 16th that Ohtani cleaned out his locker room after the game against the Detroit Tigers. According to the ‘LA Times’, all of his equipment, including his shoes, had been put away. 

There was talk among reporters that Ohtani may have ended the season early, but the Angels team avoided making an official comment, saying, “We will provide updated information.” Angels manager Phil Nevin, who left open the possibility of Ohtani’s return until recently, even predicted that Ohtani’s return would be possible on the 17th or 18th, but Ohtani’s return did not become a reality in the end.

Ohtani, who entered the big league stage for the first time in 2018, attracted attention as a pitcher and hitter, hitting 20 home runs in his first season and starting 10 games as a pitcher. Although he went through ups and downs for two years, his talent began to fully blossom in 2021, and he was instantly reborn as a top-level player in the big leagues.

2021 was the year when it was announced that the ‘Era of Otani’ had arrived. That year, he had a successful season as a hitter and pitcher, recording 138 hits in 537 at-bats in 158 games, a batting average of 0.257, 46 home runs, 100 RBI, and an OPS of 0.964 as a pitcher, and as a pitcher, he recorded 9 wins, 2 losses, and an average ERA of 3.18 in 23 games, 130⅓ innings. He set out to make ‘cartoonish events’ a reality.

The following year, as a hitter and pitcher, respectively, he surprised everyone by recording 160 hits in 586 at-bats in 157 games, a batting average of 0.273, 34 home runs, 95 RBI, an OPS of 0.875, 15 wins, 9 losses, and 2.33 ERA in 28 games, 166 innings. It was never easy to achieve double-digit home runs and multiple wins on the big league stage. This was possible because it was Otani.

Ohtani, who built his body faster this year than last year, participated in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) last March and contributed to the Japanese national team. At the time, he showed his presence by both pitching and batting, and as a result, he led Japan to the championship and won the MVP of the tournament. The 2023 WBC was a stage where he raised his value even further.

Before the joy of winning had even subsided, Ohtani immediately joined his team, the Angels, and began preparations for the 2023 season. Although there was great concern from those around him about his physical exhaustion, Ohtani still showed off his health and continued his performance, recording 4 wins and 7 home runs in April alone. His pace seemed to be slowing down in May with a batting average of 0.243, 8 home runs, and 20 RBIs, but thanks to his steady production of home runs, he became the first player in major league history to record 10 wins and 10 home runs for two consecutive seasons, and 10 wins and 40 home runs in a single season. .

But an unexpected ordeal came. Ohtani, who had been playing the season with no time to catch his breath, was unable to perform at 100% on the mound in July due to a fingernail injury and finger blisters, and on the 4th of last month, he complained of finger cramps during a game against the Seattle Mariners and pitched only 4 innings before leaving the mound. went down. A ‘yellow light’ has turned on regarding Otani’s health.

Ultimately, something of concern occurred in the first game of the double header against the Cincinnati Reds on the 24th of last month. Ohtani, who appeared as a starting pitcher, felt unwell after pitching 1⅓ innings and was quickly replaced. At the time, the club said it was ‘arm fatigue’, but the examination revealed a rupture of the medial collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow. It was the moment when ‘pitcher’ Ohtani’s 2023 season came to an end.

Otani, who had already undergone surgery in 2018, was in contemplation over whether to undergo surgery, but the conclusion he reached was that he would continue to play the remainder of the season as a ‘batsman’. Otani has requested to be included in the lineup for every game since his injury, and Coach Nevin emphasized that he wants him to play.안전놀이터

This season, Ohtani has already shown off a lot. On the mound, he recorded 10 wins, 5 losses, and an ERA of 3.14 in 23 games, 132 innings, and at the plate, he lived up to everyone’s expectations with 151 hits in 497 at-bats in 135 games, a batting average of 0.304, 44 home runs, and 95 RBIs, and an OPS of 1.066. Otana is still the player closest to the American League MVP (Most Valuable Player Award).

However, Ohtani, who wanted to play until the end of the season, continued to play, but felt pain in his side while practicing batting ahead of the game against the Baltimore Orioles on the 5th. In the end, the game against the Oakland Athletics on September 4th became Ohtani’s last game of the season.

After deciding to call it a day, Ohtani now has a big problem to solve. The time to decide whether to have surgery on his elbow is getting closer. Since he will qualify as a free agent after the end of the season, there is a high possibility that he will enter the 2024 season wearing a uniform other than the Angels.

MLB.com, the official Major League website, said, “If he undergoes surgery, it will likely affect his upcoming contract as he will likely not pitch in the 2024 season. He is still expected to sign a record-breaking contract, and his agent Nezu Valero also said, ‘Even if Otani undergoes surgery, he is ready to hit in the opening game in 2024.’” It remains to be seen what choice Otani will make.

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