By not winning Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes, the Texas Rangers might have dodged a major bullet.
According to Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Angels’ prized off-season acquisition had a platelet-rich plasma injection to help deal with a ligament damage in his pitching elbow.
Here’s how Verducci explained the details and significance of the procedure:
“Meanwhile, MLB circulated Ohtani’s medical history. Sources from two of the teams say the report included a notation that Ohtani underwent a platelet-rich plasma injection on his right elbow in October. PRP has become popular as a conservative, nonsurgical treatment to address a wide variety of elbow issues.”
Across major league baseball, the process has been used to treat minor and major elbow injuries alike, with some players ultimately requiring Tommy John surgery.
Even at 23 years old, the Japanese phenom has an additional injury history. Last season, the two-way star played in just 65 games in the Japanese League (five of which came as a pitcher) due to lower leg injuries.
Ohtani also missed last year’s World Baseball Classic due to an ankle injury. He had surgery on that same ankle this past October.
The Rangers were a legitimate contender for his services, but Ohtani ultimately signed with the Angels last Friday.
Part of the reason teams were still willing to ignore this injury history is due to the appealing terms of the contract. Because of when Ohtani elected to become an international free-agent, Los Angeles was able to sign him for a bargain rate of three years and a guaranteed maximum yearly salary of $545,000, with a maximum signing bonus of $3.5 million.
The Angels also had to pay the Nippon-Ham Fighters, Ohtani’s Japanese league team, a $20 million posting fee.
With Ohtani no longer an option, the Rangers are currently pushing hard to add Diamondback’s ace Zack Greinke to the top of their rotation via trade.
Peter Dawson: 817-390-7657