The Los Angeles Angels suffered a major setback on Saturday as they announced that Shohei Ohtani’s season has officially come to an end. The talented Japanese player, who was a strong contender for the American League’s Most Valuable Player award, had been trying to make a comeback from an oblique injury. However, his hopes were dashed when he aggravated his right oblique during a batting practice session on September 4. As a result, Ohtani missed the last 11 games of the season.
Uncertainty Surrounding Ohtani’s Future
In addition to his oblique injury, Ohtani had already been dealing with a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his pitching arm, which prematurely ended his season as a pitcher in August. The extent of his injury and the necessary course of action are still unknown. It remains to be seen what steps Ohtani and his camp will take to address his torn UCL. This uncertainty adds another layer of disappointment to an already challenging situation.
Despite the premature end to his season, it is impossible to overlook the remarkable performance Ohtani delivered in 2021. As a hitter, he showcased his exceptional skills by slashing an impressive .304/.412/.654. Ohtani led the American League in home runs (44), walks (91), and total bases (325). His contributions on the mound were equally impressive, with a 10-5 record and a 3.14 ERA in 132 innings pitched. He struck out 167 batters while issuing 55 walks. Ohtani’s exceptional performance earned him a staggering 9.0 FanGraphs wins above replacement, solidifying him as a standout player in the league.
Although Ohtani has not made any public statements since August 9, his agent, Nez Balelo of CAA, confirmed that the 29-year-old has every intention of continuing as a two-way player. Regardless of the procedure required for his torn UCL, which may involve surgery, Ohtani aims to return fully healthy for the start of the 2024 season. The Angels and their fans can take solace in the fact that Ohtani remains committed to his unique talent, and they can eagerly anticipate his return once he has fully recovered.
The absence of Ohtani for the remainder of the season is undoubtedly a significant blow to the Los Angeles Angels. As a team, they heavily relied on his extraordinary skills and versatility throughout the year. Ohtani’s absence will be felt both on the field and in the clubhouse, as his impact extended far beyond his individual statistics. The Angels will have to regroup, reassess their strategies, and find ways to compensate for the loss of their star player moving forward.
Shohei Ohtani’s premature end to the season due to his oblique injury is a major disappointment for the Los Angeles Angels. Despite the setback, Ohtani’s exceptional performance throughout the year cannot be understated. The uncertainty surrounding the extent of his injuries and his future plans further adds to the frustration. As the Angels move forward without their star player, they must find ways to fill the void left by Ohtani’s absence in both their lineup and team dynamics. The talented two-way player remains determined to make a comeback in the 2024 season, giving hope to the Angels and their fans that they will witness his extraordinary talent once again.