Shohei Ohtani had an elbow procedure his agent said was preventative. 

By Dan Gartland
December 11, 2017

Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani had a platelet-rich plasma injection in his pitching elbow, Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci reports. 

Ohtani’s representatives revealed during the Japanese phenom’s recruitment process that he underwent the procedure in October, though it is not believed to be serious. Here’s how Verducci details it in his recent column on the Angels acquisition of Ohtani and the Yankees’ trade for Giancarlo Stanton: 

​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. In some cases, such as with Zack Greinke in 2013 and Chris Sale in ’14, it treats inflammation and irritation. (Both pitchers missed only a few starts.) In other cases, such as strains or tears to the flexor tendon or ulnar collateral ligament, it is used instead of surgery. Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka, for instance, underwent PRP therapy in 2014 to treat a small UCL tear and has pitched effectively since then. Other pitchers who tried PRP eventually needed Tommy John surgery, including Clay Buchholz and Drew Smyly this year.

Balelo explained to clubs that Ohtani underwent the PRP procedure as “a preventative measure,” telling them it is commonly used that way in Japan. To mitigate potential concerns, Balelo arranged for Ohtani to undergo a physical in California during the recruiting process and made the results available to interested clubs.

“It didn’t change the equation,” one team official says. “Worst-case scenario, if he loses two years, even if you wind up paying $60 million for four years, he’s still a bargain.”

Ohtani missed large chunks of the 2017 due to lower-body injuries, only appearing in 65 games as a hitter and making five starts on the mound. He skipped the World Baseball Classic in March due to the lingering effects of an ankle injury suffered the previous October. He then missed several weeks at the start of the season due to a thigh injury. He underwent surgery on the injured ankle in October. 

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