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Angels face unique challenge in trying to get Shohei Ohtani right

Angels face unique challenge in trying to get Shohei Ohtani right

One hundred years had passed since a major league player simultaneously handled pitching and hitting the way Ohtani did during his first 10 weeks with the Los Angeles Angels. Now Ohtani is nursing a tender elbow that saps his ability to pitch without actually affecting his ability to hit, igniting a recovery process for which there are no parallels.

In other words, the Angels have unintentionally taken on the responsibility of crafting the blueprint for rehabilitating two-way players.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

They don’t seem to mind.

“It actually kind of fits the way that we prefer to operate here,” Angels general manager Billy Eppler said. “It pushes us more into a mindset of staying present rather than trying to worry about the future or trying to obsess over the past and things like that. It keeps us, really, present-focused.”

That present, from which Eppler refuses to stray, looks like this: Ohtani has a Grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament of his right elbow, which basically constitutes a partial tear. In hopes of avoiding Tommy John surgery, the Angels — specifically Steve Yoon, an expert in the field of orthobiology — injected Ohtani’s ligament with platelet-rich plasma and stem cells, part of a low-risk, conservative treatment plan that uses a patient’s own blood to accelerate regeneration.

The Angels plan to re-evaluate Ohtani on Thursday, three weeks after the procedure. But a detailed plan for his recovery may take even longer to map out.70

Staying flexible, Eppler said, is “critical” in this circumstance.

Ohtani, with a .907 OPS and a 3.10 ERA as a rookie, could conceivably help as a hitter while recovering as a pitcher, a concept the Angels seem to be open-minded about. But the possibility of Tommy John surgery, which typically knocks pitchers out for at least 14 months, complicates everything.

“I think that’s kind of jumping,” Eppler said, “and the only reason why is because nobody has said ‘surgery’ to me. So I’m not going to think about it until somebody who’s a qualified M.D. tells me to think about it.”

For now, the Angels seem to at least be thinking about giving Ohtani a chance to hit. The 23-year-old has spent more than a week swinging a bat with his left arm in order to keep his hips active. On Friday, he stood in for Felix Pena’s bullpen session to track pitches and maintain some semblance of timing.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Eppler claims he has not yet spoken to Ohtani about the possibility of hitting while he recovers as a pitcher.