MLB rumors: Ohtani Tommy John timeline, Yankees hot seat, more

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Shohei Ohtani's Tommy John surgery gets possible timeline

Shohei Ohtani's torn UCL has been a hot topic for the Los Angeles Angels and the entire MLB. While the common thinking would suggest he would undergo Tommy John surgery, such a decision has potentially career-long implications. Coming up on his free agency this winter, his decision to elect to get surgery or not could be a meaningful data point for teams figuring out how much they'd like to offer him, should they have the chance to do so.

Here's what Nightengale reported:

Ohtani has yet to publicly declare his intentions, but those familiar with Ohtani’s thinking believe that he could shut it down in the next 10 days and undergo Tommy John surgery to repair his torn UCL. 

What would that mean for Ohtani next season? Well, he won't be pitching, that's for sure. The recovery timeline for TJ surgery is lengthy and keeps pitchers out entire seasons. For other players, it all really depends. Typically one can bat no problem, so as Nightengale points out, he'll likely be good to go as a designated hitter.

This year we saw Bryce Harper undergo Tommy John. He famously returned 160 days after the surgery, albeit as a designated hitter. He stayed out of the outfield, his normal position, and instead tried to learn first base to make himself useful defensively even as he couldn't make far throws.

That timeline was quick, but Ohtani is a freak of nature, so let's rock with it. If Ohtani gets surgery in 10 days, 160 days after that would be mid-February. That puts him right back in-line for spring training. Should he need some additional time, he'll be ready to DH early in the regular season no problem.

Definitely don't expect the two-way player we've become accustomed to seeing in Ohtani in previous years. Clearly, he isn't going to be able to pitch, but the surgery won't keep us from seeing his offensive brilliiance continue.

And who knows, if Harper learns first base to get himself back on the dirt, maybe Ohtani could add yet another position to his toolbelt? Unlikely, but one can dream!

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