Shohei Ohtani Injury History Explored

Shohei Ohtani, the multi-talented two-way player for the Los Angeles Angels (LAA), has captured the attention of baseball fans worldwide with his exceptional skills both on the mound and at the plate. However, throughout his six-season career in the major leagues, Ohtani has been plagued by a series of injuries that have hindered his performance and raised concerns about his long-term durability.

In this article, we will delve into the injury history of Shohei Ohtani and explore the impact these setbacks have had on his career.

Early Career Injuries

Shohei Ohtani Injury

Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, 2013: Sprained Ankle and Cheekbone Fracture

During his rookie season with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in 2013, Ohtani experienced his first taste of injury setbacks. He suffered a sprained ankle and a fractured cheekbone at different points in the season, which forced him to miss valuable playing time.

Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, 2017: Ankle Surgery

Ohtani’s injury troubles persisted during his tenure with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in 2017. He underwent ankle surgery after an injury sustained during the 2016 Japan Series, causing him to miss significant portions of the 2017 season.

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Transition to the MLB and Early Injury Concerns

Shohei Ohtani Injury History

2017 Offseason: First-Degree UCL Sprain

Shortly after signing with the Los Angeles Angels in 2017, Ohtani was diagnosed with a first-degree UCL sprain in his pitching elbow. While the team expressed confidence that the injury was behind him, it foreshadowed the challenges Ohtani would face in the years to come.

Angels, April-June 2018: Blisters on Finger

Ohtani’s transition to the MLB was not without its share of setbacks. In the 2018 season, he battled blisters on his finger, which forced him to be removed from a game against the Red Sox. The issue resurfaced later in the season during a game against the Royals, further limiting his availability.

June 2018: Grade 2 UCL Sprain

In June 2018, Ohtani was diagnosed with a grade 2 UCL sprain, a more severe injury than his previous UCL concerns. He was placed on the injured list and received treatment in the form of platelet-rich plasma injections and stem cells. Ohtani made a brief return as a designated hitter in July but did not pitch again until September.

The 2018 Tommy John Surgery

Shohei Ohtani MLB

September 2018: Ohtani Gets Tommy John Surgery

The most significant injury of Ohtani’s career occurred in September 2018 when he underwent Tommy John surgery, a procedure to repair the torn UCL in his pitching elbow. The surgery forced Ohtani to miss the entire 2019 season as a pitcher, but he continued to contribute as a hitter. Despite the setback, Ohtani remained determined to excel in both aspects of the game.

Ongoing Injury Challenges

September 2019: Knee Surgery

After a season as a designated hitter in 2019, Ohtani underwent knee surgery to address a bipartite patella, a congenital condition that had been bothering him throughout the season. The surgery ended his season three weeks early and highlighted the challenges Ohtani faced in maintaining his health.

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August 2020: Elbow Flexor Strain

In the shortened 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ohtani experienced discomfort in his arm during his second start after returning from Tommy John surgery. An MRI revealed an elbow flexor strain, forcing him to be shut down from pitching for the remainder of the season. Despite the setback, Ohtani’s abilities as a hitter remained unaffected.

August 2023: Torn UCL and Uncertain Future

In 2023, Ohtani enjoyed a standout season, setting records and solidifying his status as one of the game’s brightest stars. However, injuries struck again as he experienced a torn UCL during a start against the Reds.

This injury raised concerns about a potential second Tommy John surgery and cast uncertainty over his future. Ohtani’s pending free agency further complicated matters, leaving fans and analysts wondering about the implications for his market value.

The Toll of Injuries on Ohtani and the Angels

Shohei Ohtani Baseball

Ohtani’s injury-riddled career has undoubtedly taken a toll on him both physically and mentally. The Angels organization has also felt the impact, as they have had to bear the cost of treatment and navigate the challenges of managing a player with a history of injuries.

Despite the setbacks, Ohtani’s resilience and determination have remained unwavering, earning him praise from teammates, coaches, and fans alike.

The Road Ahead

As Ohtani faces the daunting task of recovering from yet another injury setback, the baseball world eagerly awaits his next move. Will he undergo another Tommy John surgery, or will alternative treatment options be explored? The upcoming offseason and his impending free agency only add to the intrigue surrounding his future.

One thing is certain: Shohei Ohtani’s journey is a testament to his resilience and unwavering passion for the game.


Shohei Ohtani’s career has been a rollercoaster ride of injuries and triumphs. From his early days in Japan to his transition to the MLB, he has faced numerous obstacles that have tested his resolve. While injuries have undoubtedly hindered his progress and raised concerns about his long-term durability, Ohtani’s ability to bounce back and perform at an elite level is a testament to his exceptional talent and unwavering determination.

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As he navigates the challenges of injury recovery and impending free agency, the future remains uncertain, but the baseball world eagerly awaits his return to the mound and continued excellence on the field.

Adrian Cook
Adrian Cook

Hello, I'm Adrian Cook, and I am the author of I have a deep-rooted connection to baseball as I was once an avid player of the sport. Baseball has always held a special place in my heart, and my personal experiences as a player have shaped my understanding and love for the game. Having been on the field, I intimately understand the intricacies, challenges, and joys that come with playing baseball. It is this firsthand experience that allows me to bring a unique perspective to the content I create.

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