When will Shohei Ohtani pitch again? Injury timeline, return date, latest updates on Dodgers star

Shohei Ohtani lives his baseball life on a two-way street. 

For the foreseeable future, however, there is a new traffic plan in place. An elbow injury will leave the superstar living like everyone else and playing just one side of the game. Despite that reality, Ohtani still managed to land a record-breaking contract in the offseason, signing a 10-year, $700 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Ohtani’s absence on the mound was overlooked amid a gambling scandal that his interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, found himself in. 

Baseball’s biggest star avoided punishment since Mizuhara stole from Ohtani. Ohtani will be donning Dodger blue during the 2024 season and beyond. As for when he toes the rubber next, that remains somewhat of a mystery. 

Here’s everything you need to know about Ohtani’s injury, including what it is and how long he’ll be off the mound. 

MORE: Why Dodgers fired Shohei Ohtani’s longtime interpreter Ippei Mizuhara

When will Shohei Ohtani pitch again?

Ohtani has made some progress in his return to the mound. He began throwing from 60 feet out and has hit 80 miles per hour, according to an ESPN report on May 27.

The Dodgers star said he’s been throwing between 60-70 pitches from the 60-foot range, and he’s increasing distance as he recovers.

While this is promising, there’s no reason to believe Ohtani will pitch this season. By all accounts, Ohtani’s return to the mound will come in 2025.

“The ultimate plan after deliberation with Shohei, was to repair the issue at hand and to reinforce the healthy ligament in place while adding viable tissue for the longevity of the elbow,” Dr. Neal ElAttrache said in a statement through Ohtani’s agent, Nez Balelo. “I expect full recovery, and he’ll be ready to hit without any restrictions come opening day of 2024 and do both (Hit & Pitch) come 2025.”

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The question for Ohtani at this point is whether he can ever be the same pitcher again, but his impact in the batter’s box has remained unchanged. Through May 27, he’s slashing .336/.403/.621 with 13 HRs, 40 runs, 35 RBIs, and 13 SBs.

MORE: Legal expert explains next step in Shohei Ohtani interpreter controversy

What is Shohei Ohtani’s injury?

On Aug. 23, 2023, Ohtani left during the second inning of his start against the Cincinnati Reds after throwing just 26 pitches. Angels general manager Perry Minasian confirmed that night Ohtani had injured a ligament in his elbow and would not pitch again for the remainder of the season. 

He was officially diagnosed with a torn UCL.

This is the second time that the Japanese star has gotten surgery on his elbow, the first of which came in 2018. He underwent Tommy John surgery, keeping him off the mound through the ’19 and majority of the abbreviated ’20 season. 

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