Despite the fact that his team’s fall baseball season is virtually over, Shohei Ohtani (29-LA Angels) continues to step up to the plate despite his physical condition. Why is he making this choice?

Japanese media outlet Nikkan Gendai wrote about Ohtani’s current condition on April 28, asking, “With the team’s chances of making the playoffs slim, why is Ohtani playing through elbow ligament damage?”바카라사이트

Ohtani is currently suffering from a problem with the ligament in his right elbow where he pitches. He took the mound for the first game of a doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds on April 24, but was pulled after just 1⅓ innings due to elbow pain. The Los Angeles Angels announced after the second game of the doubleheader that “Ohtani has suffered a torn medial collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow and will not pitch for the remainder of the season.”

Shohei Ohtani, second from right, helps himself off the mound after failing to pitch two more innings during the first game of a doubleheader against Cincinnati on Thursday (Sept. 24). /AFPBBNews=News1
After undergoing Tommy John surgery (elbow ligament splicing) in October 2018, Ohtani had a shaky start to his return to the mound in 2020. But after going 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA the following year, Ohtani quickly reestablished himself as a major league pitcher. Last year, he finished fourth in the American League Cy Young Award voting with 15 wins and a 2.33 ERA. This year, he maintained a sub-2 ERA through May, establishing himself as the Angels’ ace.

In July, however, Ohtani showed signs of uneasiness, allowing five or more runs on three occasions. He tossed a complete game shutout at Detroit on July 28, but was pulled after four innings in his next start (Aug. 4 at Seattle) with a finger issue. He then felt discomfort in his arm after pitching six innings of one-run ball against San Francisco on Sept. 10, and missed his scheduled start against Texas on Sept. 17 due to arm fatigue.

Ohtani was pulled after just 1⅓ innings in Cincinnati on April 24, and was eventually diagnosed with elbow ligament damage. In the midst of all this, Angels general manager Perry Minasian appeared to shift the blame, telling, “The club offered him an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) after the game against Seattle on April 4, but he declined.”

At this point, Ohtani is likely to be back on the operating table for the first time in five years. However, instead of being out for the season, Ohtani announced that he will only bat for the rest of the year.

Shohei Ohtani. /AFPBBNews=News1
It certainly doesn’t make sense. The Angels were 63-68 on the season (.481 winning percentage) as of Aug. 28, 11.5 games behind the American League West-leading Seattle Mariners. They’re also 10.5 games out of the third wild-card spot (Houston), making fall baseball virtually impossible. In fact, baseball stats site Baseball Reference gives the Angels a 0.1 percent chance of making the postseason and an even lower chance of winning the World Series.

Nevertheless, Ohtani continues to play as a hitter. In fact, Ohtani had already been through the same thing five years earlier. In 2018, the year of his first Tommy John surgery, he still managed to hit 22 home runs by the end of the season, despite appearing in only 10 games as a pitcher. According to the media, Japanese pitcher Darvish Yu (San Diego) said in a private broadcast that “even if the ligaments are damaged, he can still hit.” “If he was a right-handed hitter, it would be difficult because of the strain on his right elbow, but a left-handed hitter can do it,” he said.

“Ohtani seems to be aiming for the batting title this season,” the outlet continued. Ohtani has been honored with Rookie of the Year honors in 2018 and unanimous league MVP in 2021. However, he has yet to win an individual title. He also entered the home run race in 2021, but finished with 46 home runs, trailing only Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Toronto) and Salvador Perez (Kansas City, 48+).

Shohei Ohtani. /AFPBBNews=News1
This year, however, he has smashed 44 home runs through 28 games to lead the American League in home runs by a whopping 10 over second-place Lewis Roberts (White Sox, 34). Ohtani also ranks first in runs scored (100), on-base percentage (.409) and slugging percentage (.666). He also ranks third in batting average at 0.305. If he also finishes first in batting average and RBI, he would be the first American League player to win the batting triple crown in 11 years, since Miguel Cabrera (Detroit) in 2012.

Ohtani’s form has drawn comparisons to teammate Mike Trout. Trout was placed on the disabled list (IL) last month after fracturing the metacarpal bone in his left wrist while swinging on April 4. He returned on April 23 against Cincinnati and went 1-for-4. However, Trout returned to the disabled list a day later. With the team underperforming, there was no need to push him.

Ohtani is a different story. Ohtani is eligible for free agency after this season. His price tag, once estimated at $600 million, has dropped due to injuries, but he’ll be worth it if he wins a title at the plate. That’s why Ohtani may be pushing himself a bit when it comes to his big contract.

Shohei Ohtani. /AFPBBNews=News1

Shohei Ohtani. /AFPBBNews=News1

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