Agent: Shohei Ohtani plans to continue to be two-way player - ESPN
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Shohei Ohtani is still evaluating medical opinions on the tear in his ulnar collateral ligament, but his agent, Nez Balelo of CAA, made two things clear Monday afternoon: Ohtani will be ready to at least hit at the start of next season, regardless of how much longer he continues to play in 2023, and he will remain a two-way player down the road.
"There's not a question in his mind that he's gonna come back and he's gonna continue to do both," Balelo told a large contingent of reporters from his suite at Angel Stadium, marking the first time he or Ohtani have addressed the media since his tear was revealed Aug. 23.
Ohtani will continue to hit for the foreseeable future -- though he was a late scratch from Monday's lineup with what the Los Angeles Angels described as right oblique tightness -- but Balelo didn't commit to him hitting the rest of the season.
Balelo acknowledged that Ohtani, who will soon be one of the most prominent free agents in baseball history, will eventually undergo "some type of procedure," a list that would seemingly include Tommy John surgery -- the standard UCL replacement that would keep him off a mound throughout the 2024 season -- or a non-invasive treatment that utilizes stem cells and platelet-rich plasma in an effort to strengthen the ligament. A relatively new, less-invasive bracing procedure also has been popularized in recent years, though it is unclear whether Ohtani is a candidate for that.