Dodgers Injury Update: Shohei Ohtani Starting Throwing Program After Seoul Series

Shohei Ohtani is not going to pitch for the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 2024 season, but the two-way star nevertheless is on the verge of starting down a path toward returning to the mound next year.

“I know that once we get back to the States, he’s going to start his throwing program, which he hasn’t started yet,” manager Dave Roberts said before the Dodgers played an exhibition game against Team Korea.

Tuesday is going to be six months since Ohtani had the second right elbow surgery of his career on Sept. 19, 2023.

During an introductory press conference at Dodger Stadium in December, Ohtani and agent Nez Balelo said his recovery from elbow surgery had been progressing without issue. Neither were willing to confirm if the procedure was a second Tommy John surgery, however, which had been previously reported.

“I’m obviously not an expert in the medical field,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “It was a procedure, I’m not sure what it was called.

“I know it was completely different from my first time, so I don’t know what you want to call it.”

During a recent interview with the Associated Press, Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed Ohtani’s elbow surgery, suggested he would pitch against batters in a simulated environment in September.

But when presented with that potential timeline, Roberts mentioned not being aware of such plan.

“I think with Shohei, anything is possible,” Roberts said. “But I haven’t heard that one. If that’s what Dr. ElAttrache said, he’s the expert.”

As the Dodgers neared the end of their time in Arizona for Spring Training, Ohtani declared himself past the rehab phase of his elbow surgery with respect to hitting.

Will Shohei Ohtani play the field?

While Ohtani isn’t going to pitch for the Dodgers in 2024, one way his contributions could expand is by potentially playing the field. Ohtani last did so during the 2021 season, playing 7.1 innings in right field and one in left field.

“We’ll see how that progression goes. If his arm is healthy enough, we’ll have that conversation about the field,” Roberts said.

“I do know he’s not going to pitch this year. Right now, our only focus is him being the designated hitter.”

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