Shohei Ohtani, 2-Time MVP, Says Tommy John Surgery Rehab Going Well

Screengrab from MLB Network
Shohei Ohtani remotely appears on an MLB Network program on Thursday when he was announced as the winner of the American League MVP Award.

LOS ANGELES — It was no surprise that Shohei Ohtani was named the unanimous winner of the American League MVP Award on Thursday, the second time he has been so honored. One thing on people’s minds is whether the free agent will be the same two-way star he was after having Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career.

Speaking remotely to the MLB Network broadcast of the MVP announcement, the 29-year-old superstar said his recovery from the surgery on his pitching elbow that ended his season with the Los Angeles Angels was going well.

Occasionally smiling, Ohtani answered several questions from the network’s studio hosts through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. Ohtani was shown dressed casually and sitting on a sofa with a frisky dog.

“As far as the rehab, it’s going great right now,” he said. “It feels a lot better and faster than the first time I had the surgery. But I can’t rush and I have to take the right steps, and my goal is to come back strong next year.”

Ohtani showed his prowess as a top-class pitcher and batter this past season, winning 10 games and blasting a league-leading 44 home runs. It marked his second straight season with double digits in wins and homers.

He sustained the tear to his ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow while pitching in August and had surgery in September.

“I think the balance of pitching and hitting was really good,” Ohtani said. “I think I was able to do that at a higher level. I wasn’t able to play until the end, and I think that might be my only regret.”

When asked about his appeal beyond his performance on the field, Ohtani smiled with a confused look.

“Just really concentrating on baseball is my style,” Ohtani said.