It has been a tough year for the Angels (well, at least Angels not named Mike Trout who appears poised to win AL MVP and who inked a contract extension worth north of $400 million). While they weren’t picked to win the AL West by, well, pretty much anybody. However, the team currently sits with a 67-80 record on the season thanks in large part to having one of the worst pitching staffs in the league.
Part of the reason why that pitching staff has struggled mightily is because the presumptive ace of the staff, Shohei Ohtani, had to undergo Tommy John surgery and was never going to see time on the mound in 2019. However, given that he is an athletic wunderkind, he has still played as a DH and has slashed a very respectable .286/.343/.505 and posted a 122 wRC+ with 18 home runs in 106 games.
Unfortunately, now it looks like Ohtani’s season as a hitter is also over.
Shohei Ohtani's season is over, 17 days early. He will undergo surgery to address a bipartite patella in his left knee. His knee cap is made up of two bones instead of one, found in 1-2% of people, which could lead to swelling/tenderness/pain. Recovery is typically 8-12 weeks.— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) September 12, 2019
The good news is that it looks like the timeline for his recovery will not impact his availability for the start of the 2020 season although it is unclear as to whether or not it will impact his rehab work as a pitcher while coming back from Tommy John surgery.
This also doesn’t appear to be a new injury or something that SHOULD turn into a chronic problem. Bipartite patellas are a congenital defect and his was a known situation beforehand, but it had not been symptomatic until recently.
That being said, for a guy who has all of the athletic promise in the world with power, speed, and the ability to throw gas on the mound, having a Tommy John surgery and now a significant procedure being done on his knee before he has played two seasons in the major leagues is far from ideal.