Dodgers News: Shohei Ohtani’s 2nd Elbow Surgery ‘Completely Different’ Than Tommy John

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The Los Angeles Dodgers introduced Shohei Ohtani at Dodger Stadium earlier this month with members of the Guggenheim Baseball Management group on hand, in addition to front office personnel and manager Dave Roberts.

Ohtani’s 10-year, $700 million contract was monumental and historic, but also a calculated move to draw the eyes of global baseball fans.

The press conference was the first time Ohtani fielded questions from the media in several months, and among the topics discussed was that of his health. Ohtani’s most recent elbow procedure was initially reported as being a second Tommy John surgery, but there hadn’t been a definitive answer or clarity provided.

Ohtani fielded questions regarding the surgery, noting that it didn’t fall into the same exact 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.”

Ohtani isn’t slated to pitch until the 2025 season, but the Dodgers feel strongly enough about his medicals to have given him such a hefty contract. But the gray area with Ohtani’s second elbow surgery has raised some eyebrows.

Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed Ohtani’s first Tommy John, as well as his most recent procedure. The outlook for the two-way star remain positive, regardless of what the surgery is called.

“I’m obviously not an expert in the medical field,” Ohtani said. “It was a procedure, I’m not sure what it was called. I know it was completely different from my first time, so I don’t know what you want to call it.”

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

What will workload look like for Shohei Ohtani in 2024?

With the understanding that he isn’t scheduled to pitch during the upcoming season, the Dodgers expect to task Ohtani as their everyday designated hitter.

The two-time unanimous MVP Award winner hit .304/.412/.654 with 26 doubles, eight triples, 44 home runs, 20 stolen bases, 102 runs scored and 95 RBI. The 2023 season was Ohtani’s best offensive campaign in his six-year career.

Although Dodgers manager Dave Roberts hasn’t set anything in stone, the likely Dodgers lineup order will call for Ohtani batting behind leadoff man Mookie Betts.

With Freddie Freeman’s ability to take walks and provide opportune at-bats, he’ll be valuable as a No. 3 man in the lineup.

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