Brandon Gomes: Dodgers ‘Couldn’t Be More Confident’ In Shohei Ohtani Returning As Pitcher

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Shohei Ohtani was in the midst of another unworldly season with the Los Angeles Angels when he tore the UCL in his right elbow during a start against the Cincinnati Reds on August 23, 2023.

Ohtani made the decision to undergo elbow surgery that will sideline him as a pitcher for the 2024 season, but he is expected to be back on a Major League mound the following year.

The operation didn’t prevent the Los Angeles Dodgers from signing Ohtani to a record-setting 10-year, $700 million contract. What’s more, the two-way star will still be able to fulfill his duties as a designated hitter this season.

During an appearance on “The Show” podcast, Dodgers general manager Brandon Gomes reiterated the team’s trust in Ohtani coming back strong as a pitcher:

“Watching him and talking to him about his thought process, how he goes about his rehab, how meticulous he is in everything he does, we couldn’t be more confident in betting on the human and how he takes care of himself. All of those things lead into how your rehab goes, which is very important on how effective you are when you come back.

“Shohei is a physical specimen and takes an incredible amount of pride in how he goes about his rehab, and very calculated in each and every step. So we feel really good about how he’s progressing. The person, the reports from our medical group and Dr. ElAttrache that Shohei will come back and be pitching at a high level.”

The Dodgers are taking a risk on Ohtani bouncing back from the injury, but they have expressed their confidence that the 29-year-old’s work ethic and talent will win out.

In parts of five MLB seasons, Ohtani owns a 38-19 record with a 3.01 ERA, 3.30 FIP, 1.08 WHIP and 11.4 strikeouts per nine over 481.2 innings pitched (86 starts).

If Ohtani returns to form, he will give the Dodgers another ace in their rotation to go along with Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Tyler Glasnow, and potentially Bobby Miller and Walker Buehler, although the latter is set to be a free agent after the season.

Did Shohei Ohtani have second Tommy John surgery?

During his introductory press conference with the Dodgers, Ohtani revealed that his latest elbow surgery with Dr. Neal ElAttrache doesn’t fall into the same mold as a traditional Tommy John procedure.

“Obviously, I saw the doctors first and we had to go through a lot of steps to decide what type of surgery I was going to get,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara.

“At the time of the announcement, we didn’t know which way we were going to go. That’s why I never said what type of procedure it was going to be in my own words.”

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