Could Shohei Ohtani be ready to hit on Opening Day in 2024? | SportsCenter

In a recent interview on SportsCenter, Jeff Passan joins the discussion on Shohei Ohtani’s future with the Los Angeles Angels. Ohtani’s agent addressed his UCL injury and impending free agency, confirming that Ohtani plans to return next season and continue his impressive pitching and hitting performance. Despite the need for surgery and the recovery time expected, Ohtani remains focused on making a strong comeback and potentially hitting on Opening Day in 2024. The article highlights the interesting choices Ohtani is making regarding his recovery and the potential impact on his chances of winning the MVP award for the second time in the American League. It’s a captivating narrative that keeps fans wondering about Ohtani’s future and how he will navigate his recovery to return to the field.

Shohei Ohtani’s Injury and Future

Comments by Ohtani’s agent

In a recent press conference, Shohei Ohtani’s agent addressed the media for the first time since Ohtani’s torn UCL was revealed on August 23rd. The agent expressed Ohtani’s determination to come back strong and continue both pitching and hitting, as he has done in previous years. The agent also mentioned considering the possibility of Ohtani taking on the designated hitter (DH) role for this year. Ultimately, the agent emphasized that whatever decision is made, it will be taken into consideration for Ohtani’s future beyond this season.

Addressing the torn UCL

The main concern surrounding Shohei Ohtani’s injury is the torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his pitching arm. This serious injury often requires Tommy John surgery, which involves a long recovery process. Ohtani’s agent, however, expressed confidence that Ohtani will be ready to play when the 2024 season begins. While the timeline may be challenging, Ohtani’s determination and commitment to his recovery give hope to fans and the organization.

Impending free agency

In addition to his injury, Ohtani’s future is further complicated by his impending free agency. The Los Angeles Angels will have to navigate negotiations while taking into account Ohtani’s injury and the uncertainty surrounding his recovery timeline. This adds an additional layer of complexity to the situation, but the team remains optimistic about retaining Ohtani’s services and building around his unique talents.

Ohtani’s Willingness to Continue Pitching and Hitting

Agent’s statement

Ohtani’s agent emphasized that there is no doubt in Ohtani’s mind that he will continue pitching and hitting. Throughout his career, Ohtani has seamlessly transitioned between these two roles, and he fully intends to maintain that versatility moving forward. This commitment to being a two-way player sets Ohtani apart from his peers and demonstrates his passion for the game.


Consideration of DH role

Considering Ohtani’s recent injury, there has been speculation about whether he should primarily focus on hitting and take on the DH role. While this decision is still being weighed, it is evident that Ohtani’s impact as a pitcher and hitter cannot be understated. The team will carefully assess the situation and make decisions that take into account Ohtani’s long-term health and overall effectiveness.

Confidence in his return for 2024

Despite the challenges posed by Ohtani’s injury, his agent expressed confidence that he will be ready to play when the 2024 season starts. The commitment and determination Ohtani has shown throughout his career have fueled optimism that he will overcome this setback and return to the field at full strength. Fans can look forward to Ohtani’s comeback and the exciting performances he will undoubtedly bring.

Could Shohei Ohtani be ready to hit on Opening Day in 2024? | SportsCenter

Status for the Next Season

Impact of playing in 2023

One factor that could potentially affect Ohtani’s recovery timeline is his decision to continue playing in the 2023 season. While his desire to contribute to the team is commendable, it is important to carefully manage his playing time to ensure his long-term health. The organization and medical staff will closely monitor his progress and make decisions with his overall well-being in mind.

Recovery time after surgery

If Ohtani does undergo Tommy John surgery or a similar procedure, the typical recovery period is at least six months. This means that it will be some time before he can swing a bat again and participate in everyday play. However, every case is unique, and it is crucial to allow sufficient time for rehabilitation and ensure that Ohtani is fully ready before returning to action.

Cautious approach due to previous surgeries

Ohtani has previously undergone Tommy John surgery, making this his second within a span of five years. Given his medical history, it is understandable that the team will take a cautious approach to his recovery. The aim is to minimize the risk of reinjury and ensure that Ohtani can continue to perform at the highest level for years to come. This approach may involve a more extensive rehabilitation program and a longer timeline for his return.

Recovery Timeline for Tommy John Surgery

Typical recovery period

Typically, the recovery period for Tommy John surgery or a primary repair of a UCL tear is at least six months. During this time, Ohtani will focus on rehabilitation and gradually regain strength and mobility in his pitching arm. The medical team will closely monitor his progress and adjust his program as necessary to ensure a smooth and successful recovery.

Swinging a bat again

One milestone in Ohtani’s recovery will be when he can start swinging a bat again. This is a crucial step towards returning to everyday play and signifies that his arm is healing well. The timeline for this milestone can vary depending on individual factors, but it is an achievable goal through diligent rehabilitation and proper medical care.

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Returning to everyday play

Returning to everyday play after Tommy John surgery requires a careful and gradual approach. Once Ohtani is cleared to participate in baseball activities, he will work with trainers and coaches to regain his full range of motion, strength, and throwing mechanics. The team will closely monitor his progress and only reintegrate him into the lineup when he is fully ready to perform at his best.

Ohtani’s previous experience with surgery

Ohtani has already undergone Tommy John surgery and a subsequent lengthy rehabilitation process. Drawing from this experience, he understands the challenges and dedication required to recover from such a procedure. This familiarity with the process may allow him to better navigate the upcoming recovery and rehabilitation phase, making strides towards an optimal return.

Could Shohei Ohtani be ready to hit on Opening Day in 2024? | SportsCenter

Ohtani’s MVP Chances

Favoritism in the American League

Despite his injury, Shohei Ohtani remains the distinct favorite in the American League to win his second MVP award. His exceptional performance as both a pitcher and a hitter has garnered significant attention and admiration. Ohtani’s unique abilities and impact on the game have positioned him as a standout candidate.

Still a top contender despite injury

While Ohtani’s injury introduces an element of uncertainty, it does not diminish his chances of earning the MVP award. The award is based on a player’s performance throughout the season, and Ohtani has already made a significant impact with his outstanding numbers. If he continues to excel upon his return, he will undoubtedly remain a top contender for the prestigious honor.

Desire to win the award

Shohei Ohtani’s desire to win the MVP award is evident in his dedication and commitment to the game. Despite the challenges he faces, he continues to work hard and strive for excellence. Winning the MVP award would not only be a testament to his talent but also a testament to his resilience and determination.

Previous Treatment for UCL Tear

Stem cell and PRP therapy

When Shohei Ohtani previously suffered a UCL tear, he underwent alternative treatment methods such as stem cell and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. These therapies aim to promote healing and reduce inflammation in the affected area. While this treatment may have initially delayed surgery, it allowed for a more targeted approach to Ohtani’s recovery.

Timing of the surgery

In the case of Ohtani’s previous UCL tear, surgery was not immediately conducted. Instead, the timing of the surgery was carefully considered to ensure the best possible outcome. This decision led to Ohtani being unable to serve as a DH until the following year. The delay allowed for a sufficient recovery period and a gradual return to playing without compromising his long-term health.

Effect on Ohtani’s role

The timing of surgery and subsequent rehabilitation had an impact on Ohtani’s role within the team. While unable to pitch, he temporarily took on the DH role to contribute in a different way. This demonstrates Ohtani’s versatility and willingness to adapt to changing circumstances. The upcoming surgery will similarly require adjustments to his role, but Ohtani’s determination to continue playing remains unwavering.

Could Shohei Ohtani be ready to hit on Opening Day in 2024? | SportsCenter

Uncertainty Surrounding Ohtani’s Future

Awaiting medical decisions

Currently, Ohtani and his medical team are assessing the best course of action for his recovery. This involves weighing the potential benefits and risks associated with surgery and carefully considering the long-term implications. While fans eagerly anticipate updates on Ohtani’s progress, it is crucial to allow medical professionals the time and space to make informed decisions.

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Possible impact on playing time

The uncertainty surrounding Ohtani’s injury and future surgery raises concerns about his playing time. The team will need to manage his workload and gradually reintroduce him to game action. Balancing his recovery with his on-field contributions will be a delicate process that requires patience and careful planning.

Fans and team management concerns

Fans and team management alike are understandably concerned about Ohtani’s injury and its potential impact on his long-term career. However, there is a shared understanding that Ohtani’s health and well-being must be the top priority. The organization is committed to supporting him throughout his recovery journey and ensuring his return to the field when he is fully ready.

MLB’s Reaction to Ohtani’s Situation

Surprise within the baseball community

Shohei Ohtani’s injury and subsequent decisions regarding surgery have taken the baseball community by surprise. The magnitude of talent and impact he brings to the game makes his situation one of significant interest and concern. The unexpected nature of the injury has sparked discussions and speculation among fans, players, and analysts alike.

Speculation on surgery

Since Ohtani’s injury was revealed, there has been speculation about the need for surgery and its potential implications. While Tommy John surgery is common for UCL tears, the decision ultimately rests with Ohtani and his medical team. The baseball community awaits further updates to gain clarity on what lies ahead for the talented athlete.

Importance of careful recovery

Amidst the discussions and speculation, there is a consensus within the baseball community about the importance of Ohtani’s careful recovery. Given his unique skill set and the impact he has on the game, it is paramount to prioritize his healing process. Rushing or compromising his recovery could have long-lasting consequences and hinder his ability to continue performing at an elite level.

Could Shohei Ohtani be ready to hit on Opening Day in 2024? | SportsCenter

Ohtani’s Motivation to Perform

Desire to wrap up MVP award

Shohei Ohtani’s pursuit of the MVP award serves as a major motivation for his commitment to recovery and return to the field. The recognition and validation that come with such an accolade are significant milestones in any player’s career. Ohtani’s determination to win the award further fuels his already strong work ethic and dedication.

Continued dedication to the game

Despite the challenges he faces, Shohei Ohtani’s dedication to the game remains unwavering. He recognizes the responsibility and privilege of playing at the highest level and is fully committed to giving his best every time he steps onto the field. This dedication extends to his off-field preparations, where he diligently focuses on improving his skills and maintaining his physical and mental well-being.

Head scratching decision

While Ohtani’s decision to continue playing despite the need for surgery may be puzzling to some, it is a testament to his love for the game. He is willing to navigate through the challenges and uncertainty because he genuinely enjoys the sport and is determined to make a significant impact. This decision showcases his passion and competitive spirit.


Shohei Ohtani’s injury and impending free agency have added complexity to his future in baseball. However, his determination to overcome obstacles and return stronger than ever inspires hope among fans and his organization. With careful medical decisions, a comprehensive recovery plan, and the support of his team and fans, Ohtani’s return to the field promises to be a highly anticipated and thrilling event. As he continues to balance his pitching and hitting abilities, Ohtani has the potential to leave a lasting mark on the sport and solidify his legacy as one of baseball’s most talented and versatile athletes.

In this SportsCenter segment, Jeff Passan talks about Shohei Ohtani’s agent discussing the possibility of him being ready to hit on Opening Day in 2024. Passan shares insights into Ohtani’s future and when fans can expect his return next season, following his torn UCL injury last month. Don’t forget to subscribe to ESPN+ and download the ESPN App for more updates. Additionally, make sure to subscribe to ESPN and NBA on ESPN YouTube channels, and catch ESPN on YouTube TV.

Could Shohei Ohtani be ready to hit on Opening Day in 2024? | SportsCenter