“Tried to Do Everything…”: Will Shohei Ohtani Follow Bryce Harper’s Footsteps as Second Tommy John Surgery Looms Over 2024 Season?

Published 09/05/2023, 12:30 PM EDT

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There is no shortage of miracles in baseball. From Japanese wonder boy Shohei Ohtani to Philadelphia Phillies powerhouse Bryce Harper, fans have a number of players to cheer on. Ohtani has been regaling the MLB world with his two-way performance these last few seasons. But his body seems to have finally caught up with the wear and tear it’s been put through.

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The Los Angeles Angels announced that Sho-time had torn his UCL on August 23rd. He will not pitch again this season. It’s not the first time the Japanese sensation had an ulnar collateral ligament tear. Last time, he got Tommy John surgery and required almost two years for a full recovery. This time, he’s still weighing his options on what course to take because, after all, not everyone is Bryce Harper.

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The Phillies’ DH was the star of the city last year when he helped take the team to the World Series. Even if they didn’t win, he was named the Fall Classic MVP. But things took a disastrous turn when Harper announced he required Tommy John surgery in the offseason. Most expected him to return after the All-Star break at the earliest but he shocked the baseball world when he returned in May. Two and a half months early, after just 160 days of recovery. It was nothing short of miraculous.

“I really tried to do everything I could to get to this point,” the slugger said at the time. “It’s been a grind, coming in each day — on the field or in [the trainer’s room] — just understanding my body and how I feel and where I can push myself mentally and physically.”

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While it was Harper’s first rodeo with this procedure, his athletic body aided the healing process. In Ohtani’s case, it would be his second time with Tommy John if he did indeed choose this procedure. Will it be quicker this time around, or will it take even longer to heal?

Fans are already expecting he won’t pitch in 2024, although he could still hit. 2025 is probably when the Angels player makes a two-way return, but most are ready to wait to see baseball’s unicorn in action again.

Sho-Time Is Positive About The Future

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Shohei Ohtani is headed into free agency after this season and it’s unlikely he will remain in LA. And while many have questioned whether teams will still want him with an injured arm, analysts predict he will break the ceiling with a massive contract. While he will almost certainly require some sort of surgery, Ohtani remains positive.

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“His spirits are high,” said Nez Balelo, Ohtani’s agent. “He’s in a good place. We all feel extremely positive based on information that we’re getting that he’s going to be fine. But the outpouring of love and well wishes, all of that has just been overwhelming, and Shohei really deeply appreciates it.”

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Let’s see how the season end and the offseason progress with new developments. Whatever happens, fans will be eagerly awaiting the Japanese sensation’s return in whatever capacity he can.

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Written by:

Arunima Bhanot

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Arunima Bhanot is an MLB writer at EssentiallySports. Her tryst with MLB was accidental, but what followed was nothing short of a pursuit of excellence. Arunima's articles have been recognized as Editor's Picks on multiple occasions, highlighting her exceptional attention to detail and insightful coverage.
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Edited by:

Deepanshi Bajaj

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