Shohei Ohtani ‘likely to return as a hitter no matter what,’ says Billy Eppler

The Sho must go on!

Angels general manager Billy Eppler said two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani is “likely to return as a hitter no matter what” this season regardless of how effective the plasma-rich platelet (PRP) injection he received for his injured pitching elbow is. Eppler also mentioned to MLB Network Radio that the Angels had Ohtani receive the PRP with the hopes of having him healthy enough to pitch this season and, if they weren’t aiming for him to throw, Ohtani would already be cleared to hit.

“[The doctors] said from the offset, if he was only a DH, if this guy was never a pitcher in baseball and solely a DH, he would’ve been cleared right away to go,” Eppler said.

Ohtani hasn’t played since June 6 and was placed on the 10-day DL on June 8 with a grade 2 sprain in his right UCL. Prior to landing on the disabled list, Ohtani had a 4-1 record to go along with a 3.10 ERA in nine starts. ShoTime also struck out 61 over his 49 1/3 innings. While his pitching numbers are missed, especially while the Angels play with a laundry list of other names on the DL, Ohtani’s presence at the plate would be welcomed back with open arms. The left-handed hitter was batting .289 with six homers and 20 RBI.

When Ohtani was placed on the DL, the Angels said he would be reevaluated in 2-3 weeks, marking June 29 as the official three week point.

Help your Halos! MLB All-Star Game voting through July 5

Ohtani is listed as a DH on the All-Star ballot and currently sits in fourth place as the voting enters its final week.