Shohei Ohtani, the prized two-way Japanese star who recently signed with the Los Angeles Angels, has a damaged ulnar collateral ligament, according to a physical obtained by Yahoo Sports.
Ohtani underwent a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) shot in October to treat the elbow pain, Sports Illustrated reported.
The 23-year-old Ohtani, who signed with the Angels on Saturday after trimming his list of Major League Baseball teams under consideration to seven finalists, has a first-degree sprain of his right UCL. That is according to a report dated Nov. 28, Yahoo Sports reported. The PRP procedure was performed in Tokyo on Oct. 20.
While a first-degree sprain is the least severe of UCL injuries, further damage could lead to Tommy John surgery. The physical report was distributed to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, Yahoo Sports reported.
Ohtani “will be most likely available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP,” Yahoo Sports quoted the physical report as saying. “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.”
Ohtani also had ankle surgery in October.
Last season for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fights of the Pacific League, Ohtani hit .332 with eight homers and 31 RBIs. As a pitcher, he was 3-2 with a 3.20 ERA and 29 strikeouts.
Ohtani was 42-15 with a 2.52 ERA and a 1.08 EHIP in five seasons in the Nippon league. He also hit 286 with 48 home runs and 166 RBIs over 403 games.
Ohtani was put up for bid by the Ham Fighters for the maximum $20 million posting fee. He had until 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 22 to agree to a team with a Major League Baseball team, and had narrowed his choices to the Angels, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners.