Shohei Ohtani has a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and will not pitch again this season, Los Angeles Angels general manager Perry Minasian said Wednesday night in Anaheim, California, a shocking twist in the lead-up to arguably the most highly anticipated free agency in baseball history.

Ohtani exited his start in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds earlier Wednesday after recording just four outs and throwing only 26 pitches. A subsequent MRI revealed the tear, though Minasian said he did not know the severity of it. Ohtani nonetheless insisted on serving as the designated hitter in Game 2, ultimately going 1-for-5 in the Angels' 7-3 loss, and will seek secondary opinions to determine his next step.

One option, of course, is Tommy John surgery, a procedure he already underwent on his right elbow in October 2018 and one that would keep him off the mound for the entirety of the 2024 season -- a development that would significantly affect a free agent sweepstakes that many expected to yield a $500-plus million contract.

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The Angels recently opted not to trade Ohtani, the two-way sensation they hoped to sign to a lucrative extension, and have gone 5-16 since the Aug. 1 trade deadline, on pace for a franchise-record eighth consecutive losing season. They currently are riding a four-game losing streak.

And their other superstar, Mike Trout, who returned from a seven-week absence because of a hamate fracture earlier this week, will return to the injured list because his attempts to swing in Tuesday's game "didn't go well," Minasian said.

Ohtani, who hit his major league-leading 44th home run moments before exiting his start, is slashing .304/.405/.664 this season but also boasts a 3.14 ERA with 167 strikeouts in 132 innings. His 8.7 FanGraphs wins above replacement easily leads the majors.


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