MRI shows new Shohei Ohtani UCL damage; TJ surgery might be next

An MRI on the right elbow of Los Angeles Angels pitcher/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani revealed new damage to his UCL, and Tommy John surgery has been recommended, the team announced Wednesday.

The Angels said additional information will be provided when appropriate.

"There's more questions out there right now than answers. We'll take it one step at a time,'' manager Mike Scioscia said. "There's a lot of consulting that Shohei will do with doctors and just see what the best course of action is, and we'll see where we are.''

Ohtani had been scheduled to throw a light bullpen session Wednesday, but never did after reporting that his elbow was sore. The medical staff then decided that he should get the new MRI.

The 24-year-old rookie was still in the Angels' lineup as the designated hitter for their series finale against the  Rangers. Asked whether Ohtani would stay in the lineup as a DH after this game, Scioscia said: "We'll see. That's going to be determined from our medical department.''

Ohtani was diagnosed with a sprained UCL following a start June 6 and was treated with a platelet-rich plasma injection and an injection of stem cells. He was hitting again in early July, and returned to the mound with his start Sunday at Houston.

On Sunday night, Ohtani returned to the mound for the first time since that start, lasting 2 1/3 innings in the Angels' 4-2 loss to the Houston Astros.

"I'm sure at some point he's going to resume his pitching career,'' Scioscia said. "When that is depends on whatever the course of action is.''

"We'd love to have him a whole season, but I think that taking a little half-step back here and seeing him pitch for a whole career is more important than looking back and saying "what if?''' Scioscia said.

He threw 49 pitches, striking out two and walking two in Sunday's game. His fastball was routinely between 96 and 99 mph in the first two innings, but he seemed to tire by the third and his velocity dipped dramatically, with his fastball only reaching 89-92 mph.

After the game, Scioscia said the ailing elbow that led to Ohtani's pitching absence held up just fine, but a stiff back and a finger injured while attempting to field a comebacker led to Ohtani's loss in velocity.

A day later, Scioscia reiterated that Ohtani's elbow "feels great."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.