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OC Register: Angels’ Shohei Ohtani cleared to take next step in rehab from Tommy John surgery

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Although Shohei Ohtani will not be ready to be in the Angels’ lineup as a hitter on Opening Day, he could begin swinging a bat within two or three weeks.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler said on Thursday that Ohtani’s recent follow-up was encouraging, and the two-way star has been cleared to resume strength training on his surgically repaired right arm.

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Once Ohtani has regained sufficient strength, he can begin taking swings, Eppler said. Although Eppler had no timetable for that to occur in Ohtani’s case, it is expected to take less than three weeks, based on other players’ rehab timelines.

The first workout for Angels pitchers and catchers is Feb. 13, and Ohtani is expected to be participating in camp then, even though he can’t throw.

Eppler said that Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed Tommy John surgery on Ohtani on Oct. 1, had encouraging news at Ohtani’s follow-up appointment last week.

“The appointment went very well,” Eppler said. “Dr. ElAttrache was very pleased with his elbow range of motion, his strength and his scar mobility.”

Ohtani will not be able to pitch in the majors until 2020, but the Angels are expecting him to be their designated hitter for most of the 2019 season.

When, exactly, that will begin remains unclear. They had been saying for months that Opening Day was unlikely, and Eppler said the recent appointment confirmed that.

The Angels will learn more each week about how quickly Ohtani is recovering. Eppler said they’ll be cautious because of his unique circumstances – rehabbing from Tommy John surgery as a pitcher while also trying to be a hitter. Eppler said Ohtani won’t add more than one new element to his rehab each week. For example, if Ohtani makes a change in his hitting regimen, he won’t add to his throwing program in the same week.

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The only logic for not getting the surgery in September was that he would still be able to play by opening day.  Was him winning ROY worth a month or so of 2019?  I dont think so.

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On 1/31/2019 at 7:38 PM, stormngt said:

The only logic for not getting the surgery in September was that he would still be able to play by opening day.  Was him winning ROY worth a month or so of 2019?  I dont think so.

It was Ohtani’s choice to play. Not the Angels. A team can’t force a player to have surgery. I suppose they could have just benched him but that would be akin to forcing a player to have surgery and I’m sure would have resulted in some kind of grievance, alienating one of your franchise players for something that wasn’t even clear. Remember, at the time a lot of folks thought he could wait and still make opening day (and by the way he still may be pretty close).

So the question is: Why did Ohtani make that decision? The day he decided to wait, when we talked to him I think we all believed he could make it back in time, so it seemed like an easy decision. 

Even in October and November I still had people telling me they thought it was possible he could make it. 

By the time it became clear that he wouldn’t make opening day, he was no longer accessible to the media. 

Certainly, this will be a big topic when he talks for the first time in spring training. 

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14 minutes ago, Jeff Fletcher said:

It was Ohtani’s choice to play. Not the Angels. A team can’t force a player to have surgery. I suppose they could have just benched him but that would be akin to forcing a player to have surgery and I’m sure would have resulted in some kind of grievance, alienating one of your franchise players for something that wasn’t even clear. Remember, at the time a lot of folks thought he could wait and still make opening day (and by the way he still may be pretty close).

So the question is: Why did Ohtani make that decision? The day he decided to wait, when we talked to him I think we all believed he could make it back in time, so it seemed like an easy decision. 

Even in October and November I still had people telling me they thought it was possible he could make it. 

By the time it became clear that he wouldn’t make opening day, he was no longer accessible to the media. 

Certainly, this will be a big topic when he talks for the first time in spring training. 

Sorry, but a good organization has to consult with the player what is best for him.  I highly doubt if the Angel's encouraged him to get the surgery sooner Ohtani would have chose to get it sooner.

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3 minutes ago, stormngt said:

Sorry, but a good organization has to consult with the player what is best for him.  I highly doubt if the Angel's encouraged him to get the surgery sooner Ohtani would have chose to get it sooner.

He said at the time he wanted to finish the season because he wanted to continue learning the league or something like that.  

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Look, he only gets one chance in his career to win ROY which is also marketable for the Angels. His decision to forgo surgery until seasons end has not been to the detriment of the club, in fact it makes Ohtani even more marketable. So it was a win/win for him to complete the season and risk missing a month or two of a DH role in 2019. 

The RP injections gave him the chance to win the ROY award. Surgery last June still doesn't assure he would pitch in the majors this season, so his role as DH would remain the same. That is a losing situation for both ballclub and Ohtani. He is neither pitching nor marketable as an award winning a player.

My point of view is the Angels won out in the long game. Opening day the Angels should have Tim Salmon (because of speaking skills) present to the fans the 2018 ROY with Trout standing right next to him. 

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If he was told he had a good chance to be ready to open this season and instead chose to have the surgery and not play the rest of last season, that would be far more disappointing to me than whatever he'll end up missing now.

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Shohei had 49.1ip and 129 pa through june 6th.  So he would have still been eligible for ROY in 2019 had he stopped right there.  

Everyone has to remember that on june 6th, we were 35-28  and only 4 back of the division and 3 back of the 2nd wild card.   

We lost Ohtani and GR over the course of about a week. We went 45-54 the rest of the way.  

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3 hours ago, stormngt said:

Sorry, but a good organization has to consult with the player what is best for him.  I highly doubt if the Angel's encouraged him to get the surgery sooner Ohtani would have chose to get it sooner.

Like I said, I think there was significant belief, at that time, that he could finish out the season and still play opening day.

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3 hours ago, Blarg said:

Look, he only gets one chance in his career to win ROY which is also marketable for the Angels. His decision to forgo surgery until seasons end has not been to the detriment of the club, in fact it makes Ohtani even more marketable. So it was a win/win for him to complete the season and risk missing a month or two of a DH role in 2019. 

The RP injections gave him the chance to win the ROY award. Surgery last June still doesn't assure he would pitch in the majors this season, so his role as DH would remain the same. That is a losing situation for both ballclub and Ohtani. He is neither pitching nor marketable as an award winning a player.

My point of view is the Angels won out in the long game. Opening day the Angels should have Tim Salmon (because of speaking skills) present to the fans the 2018 ROY with Trout standing right next to him. 

There was actually no decision to be made in June. No doctor told him he needed TJ because there wasn't enough damage. The proof of that was that he was able to come back and throw simulated games and stuff without issue. It wasn't until he got under the lights in a big league game that he tore it further.

 

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It's the board perspective he should have gone under the knife instead of RPI. The Angelswin board certified experts in elbow ligaments is what I was addressing. I don't agree with that and my point was the Angels and Ohtani did the best for both parties. 

 

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Even if Shohei specifically sacrificed one month of 2019 to finish his rookie season strong, I'm fine with it. I wouldn't have done it, and I think it's probably the wrong decision to make, but it's in the rear view now. 

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