Shohei Ohtani returned to the Los Angeles Angels stadium on Saturday to receive his third consecutive team MVP award.
Key details: Ohtani, 29, appeared for the first time in public on Sunday since his elbow surgery to receive his third Angels’ team MVP award. The award is determined through team voting.
Unlike in 2021 and 2022, the two-way phenom did not receive the Nick Adenhart Award (Pitcher of the Year) this year. The award instead went to Carlos Estévez, 30, for 2023.
Showing love: Ohtani reportedly received a standing ovation before the game against the Oakland Athletics on Saturday as Angels general manager Perry Minasian and manager Phil Nevin handed the Japanese-born MLB superstar his MVP trophy.
“I haven’t seen him in a couple of weeks. … I know he misses the guys, and everybody misses him, too,” Nevin said before the game.
One injury after another: Ohtani suffered a back-to-back injury in the last leg of his 2022-2023 season with the Angels.
He suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow in August, which forced him off the pitching mound for the rest of the season. Ohtani then suffered an oblique injury in September, effectively ending his batting run and his season with the Angels.
Dealing with the injury: Ohtani went into surgery on Sept. 19 to deal with the torn UCL. Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who operated on Ohtani, said the MLB superstar may continue his career as a hitter without restrictions in 2024 and could return as a pitcher in 2025.
Most popular: Ohtani became the first Japanese player to have the most popular player jersey in the MLB, as tallied by jersey sales on MLBshop.com during the 2023 season. Fellow Angels teammate Mike Trout took the No. 10 spot.