Ohtani to have season-ending surgery on kneecap

Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani will miss the rest of the 2019 season

Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani will miss the rest of the 2019 season

All signs points towards Ohtani returning to being a two-way player in 2020.

On Wednesday morning, Ohtani delivered the news to Angels general manager Billy Eppler that he had opted for season-ending surgery to address a bipartite patella in his left knee, a congenital issue that had bothered the two-way star off and on since February. Contributing as a designated hitter, which he will do on the days he does not start, is not a concern. Neal ElAttrache and Brian Schulz, who will perform the surgery.

A bipartite patella is a condition in which the patella, more commonly known as the kneecap, doesn't fuse together in early childhood and remains seperated.

"We felt like it was better to get it done now because it was causing some reluctance or apprehension, whatever word you want to use, in his mound progressions, and we wanted to continue to increase intensity", Eppler said on a conference call Thursday.

On paper, this should leave Ohtani with plenty of time to be healthy and ready for Spring Training, though one potential wrinkle could be how this latest injury impacts Ohtani's ongoing recovery from Tommy John surgery. Rather than use his two-way talents, Ohtani worked exclusively as a designated hitter this year. The procedure will focus on Ohtani's bipartite patella, and it will keep Ohtani on the mend for roughly eight to twelve weeks.

Ohtani will put his throwing program on hold while recovering from surgery, but he should complete the throwing portion of his Tommy John rehabilitation by December, Eppler said.

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