HomeTeamsDodgersOhtani Progresses And Returns Throwing, But Should He?

Ohtani Progresses And Returns Throwing, But Should He?

Shohei Ohtani’s journey to recovery from his second right elbow surgery has been closely monitored, with the Dodgers’ training staff overseeing his progress. The Japanese superstar began his throwing program in late March, marking the start of his arduous pitching rehab. Each session has been carefully monitored, with Ohtani gradually building up the strength and endurance in his right arm.

According to Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group, Ohtani took another step forward while building up his right arm’s throwing strength. On Wednesday, Shohei threw 70 balls over 50 feet, increasing his every-other-day strength routine. 50ft? Who cares? It’s more important than we think.

Ohtani’s dedication to regain his dominance on the mound after multiple Tommy John surgeries is outstanding. Not just admirable but almost bewildering. Exceptionally, few pitchers have returned from two Tommy John’s, but they go through the process due to their love of the game and are not ready to step away from baseball. Shohei does not have that conundrum.

Ohtani is still the best hitter in baseball; he doesn’t have to retire or move on or even struggle with being less effective than he was before the injury. He has become a better hitter now that it is his primary focus.

Right now, heading into his series with the Reds, Ohtani has belted 12 long balls on the season, including a 464-footer in Baltimore and a beauty with a 118 MPH exit velocity in Dodger Stadium. He has nine long balls in his last 30 games, a pace that would put him at 50 for the season. That would mean he would be eclipsing his career-high 46 in 2021 and setting the Dodger franchise homerun record, currently held by steroid-era Shawn Green at 49 in 2001.

He leads the MLB with a .364 average and a .676 slugging, giving him a 1.107 OPS. He trails the HR lead by one, and with the Dodger’s offensive firepower, he could very well be a triple-crown contender in 2024. Why is he trying to get back on the mound?

The answer is simple: 700 million. Ohtani was paid Aaron Judge plus Gerrit Cole money because he is both. At the same time, he is a top-five hitter and top-five pitcher, which is far more valuable to the Dodgers, MLB, Japan and Ohtani than just the best hitter in baseball. Cooperstown is filled with 150 years of the best hitters in baseball; Ohtani has an opportunity to surpass Babe Ruth as the GOAT and the player of this or any century. That’s worth the surgery, rehab and slight plate production sacrifice. He is more than the best hitter in baseball, I can’t wait to see him back on the mound.


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