Angels' Ohtani to have surgery on kneecap, miss rest of year

Shohei Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani

Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani will have season-ending surgery on his left knee, the Los Angeles Angels have announced.

Ohtani will have reportedly have an 8-12 week timetable to recover, so his season is over.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler said the team expects Ohtani to be ready to pitch at the start of spring training.

Ohtani will have surgery Friday on his bipartite patella, or a two-part kneecap that didn't fuse together at birth.

Ohtani and the Angels thought about waiting on the surgery until his full throwing progression back from elbow surgery was complete. "If we increased intensity and pushed on the intensity, and he compromised something in his delivery, that could lead to some unforeseen issues".

The dropoff in production could mark something of a sophomore slump as pitchers get more used to Ohtani, though it could also represent his extra challenges of both coming back from Tommy John surgery as a position player while still continuing to rehab his throwing arm for his expected return to the mound in 2020.

"He will hopefully conclude his throwing program at some point in early December", Eppler said, "at which point we'll give him appropriate time off and derive our program at that time for what that looks like going into 2020".

The TJ recovery kept Ohtani from making his 2019 debut until May 7, and he was limited strictly to designated hitter duty in his second big league season. But Ohtani decided Wednesday morning to have the season-ending surgery, and the slugger homered later that day in his final game of the year.