“It reminded me of the basics”

On Sept. 16, news broke that shook the Major League Baseball world. After a home game against the Detroit Tigers, Shohei Ohtani’s locker room, which he had been missing due to a side injury, was neatly emptied. After the game, reporters from local American media visited the locker room, and even his teammates were puzzled.

“Ohtani’s locker room was cleaned out after the game between the Angels and Detroit Tigers,” reported multiple U.S. media outlets at the time, and Brett Phillips, who was eating a pot of rice with Ohtani, asked, “Where did he go?” In response, LA Angels officials said that Ohtani was not there. In response, Angels officials remained tight-lipped, saying, “We’ll have more details tomorrow (Nov. 17),메이저사이트” fueling speculation.

The speculation was not unfounded. The Angels officially announced that Ohtani was “out for the season” the day after he cleared out the locker room by placing him on the injured list (IL). Ohtani suffered a torn ligament in his right elbow late last month against the Cincinnati Reds, and while he continued to play in games as a hitter, he suffered an inflammation in his side after taking a spill that ultimately ruled him out for the rest of the season.

Shohei Ohtani/Getty Images Korea

Shohei Ohtani/Getty Images Korea

For the final home game of the regular season, Ohtani was scheduled to come to Angel Stadium to say goodbye to his teammates and fans, but due to the fact that he had packed up his belongings without his teammates’ knowledge and was about to become a free agent, his departure without saying goodbye seemed to be a way of parting ways with the existing players, but his heart was still warm.

Japan’s Full Count reported a heartwarming story between Ohtani and Jack Neto. Neto was drafted by the Angels with the 13th overall pick in the first round of the 2022 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, and within a year, he was called up to the big leagues. As of the end of the game on Nov. 21, he had appeared in 75 games, hitting .227 with nine doubles, 32 home runs, 35 RBIs and a .694 OPS.

Neto went 1-for-4 with a home run, one RBI and one run scored against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 20, a home run that came courtesy of Ohtani. “Ohtani left the team after the game on the 19th, and Neto traveled to Tampa Bay for the game, but he received several calls from Ohtani on the 20th,” Full Count reported.

According to Full Count, Neto said, “He watched my video and told me what he thought of it and what I should do, and he sent me a bunch of videos. I’m so grateful,” he said behind the scenes. It didn’t stop there. Otani also gave Neto a lot of advice on his batting form before the game on the 19th. Before he left the team, and even before he underwent surgery afterward.

LA Angels Jack Neto and Shohei Ohtani./Getty Images Korea

Jack Neto of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim./Getty Images Korea

Jack Neto of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim./Getty Images Korea

“Ohtani told me, ‘You have to have consistent form. Don’t get behind the fastball,'” he said. He told me what I needed to do to be successful at the plate and reminded me of basic things I had forgotten. Every time I step up to the plate, he looks at me like a scout. It’s really cool. He wants me to have great success,” he said.

After completing his official low-level season, Ohtani went under the knife on July 20. He had been debating whether or not to have surgery on his elbow and how to treat it, but decided to have it done as soon as possible, and although it was a different injury than the one he had five years ago when he underwent Tommy John surgery, the surgery focused on the entire right elbow ligament in order to ensure that he would be able to play as an “idoryu” for many years to come.

For now, Ohtani is aiming to be in the lineup for the opening day of the 2024 season, with a mound appearance in 2025. “I’m very disappointed that I won’t be able to finish this year on the field, but I’ll do my best and work hard so that I can return to the diamond as soon as possible, stronger than ever,” he said on social media after the surgery.

Shohei Ohtani/Getty Images Korea

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