OCT. 12: The Kyodo News reports that Otani underwent surgery without complication and is expected to require a rehabilitation period of about three months. He’ll spend the next two to three weeks rehabbing in a medical facility before moving his rehab to the Fighters’ minor league facilities. Per the report, Otani is still expected to move from NPB to MLB via the posting system this offseason.
OCT. 11: Japanese star Shohei Otani is slated to undergo ankle surgery later this week, as the Japan Times was among those to report. It will address an injury that occurred this time last year, but has evidently lingered to some extent.
Otani’s outlook does not figure to be impacted too much by the procedure, though it’ll add another layer of potential complexity as he ponders a move to the majors. Per the report, and via the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, he’ll undergo “keyhole surgery to treat a posterior impingement.”
With around three weeks until the start of the offseason, teams are preparing for a fascinating pursuit of Otani. The two-way star, who evidently hopes not only to pitch but also to spend some time hitting at the game’s highest level, is widely regarded as the best talent in the world not currently with an affiliated organization. He’s also still subject to MLB’s international bonus rules, drastically limiting his earning power and potentially opening the door to a variety of suitors that might not otherwise be able to afford him.
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The biggest mystery remains just what Otani himself will prioritize if he does indeed follow through with the strong suggestion that he’ll ask to be posted. But he’ll also now have to show some heath information to teams, especially after a thigh injury significantly limited him this season. The plot will thicken considerably if Otani’s reps attempt to discuss a potential future extension scenario with organizations, both due to the possible health considerations and the grey area in the rules governing this sort of transaction.