Ohtani underwent Tommy John surgery in his right pitching elbow during the first week of the offseason.
Angels general manager Billy Eppler said two-way player Shohei Ohtani will not be ready by Opening Day, according to ESPN's Alden Gonzalez. Eppler added that Ohtani is making progress and has been cleared for full strengthening following his Tommy John surgery.
The 24-year-old underwent Tommy John surgery during the first week of the offseason after it was recommended in September when an MRI revealed new damage to his ulnar collateral ligament in his right pitching elbow.
Ohtani was sidelined from the mound as a starting pitcher towards the end of Los Angeles’ season but continued playing as a designated hitter through the end of 2018.
He finished the season with a 3.31 ERA and 63 strikeouts through 10 games pitched. In 104 games as a hitter, Ohtani batted .285 with 22 home runs and 61 RBIs.
The star player was expected to be cleared to hit again by early next season, but a more concrete timeline has not been set since the surgery. After Ohtani begins strength training, Eppler said that the next step will be dry swings.
The Angels intend to be very careful with Ohtani's recovery.