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Angels shoot down report of Ohtani surgery

AFPLOS ANGELES (AFP-Jiji) — Los Angeles Angels general manager Billy Eppler on Monday denied a report that two-way star Shohei Ohtani faced season-ending Tommy John surgery on his damaged elbow.

ESPN’s Pedro Gomez reported on Sunday that Ohtani was expected to undergo surgery on his elbow that could leave him sidelined until 2020.

However, Angels GM Eppler swiftly played down the reports early Monday, telling the MLB Network that there had been no change in Ohtani’s condition.

The Japanese star is currently out for three weeks after suffering sprained elbow ligaments, and the club is hopeful he may respond to platelet-rich plasma and stem cell therapy.

“There have been no changes in Ohtani’s diagnosis and neither our physicians nor medical staff have recommended [Tommy John surgery] or said it’s likely,” Eppler said.

The Angels announced Friday that Ohtani has a grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

Ohtani’s injury is a blow to the Angels, who are 37-29 as they attempt to stay in touch with the pace-setting Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros in the American League West division.

The Japanese ace has electrified Major League Baseball after a string of successful performances as both a pitcher and hitter, a rare double threat that has seen him called the “Japanese Babe Ruth.”

Pitchers suffering elbow injuries involving the UCL often require Tommy John surgery to repair the problem, leading to a lengthy rehabilitation.

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