It would have been easy to forgive Shohei Ohtani had he metaphorically "packed it in" after hearing he would need Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow. But, as the Angels star has done throughout his sensational rookie campaign, Ohtani defied expectations.
Ohtani overcame a tough prognosis to capture his second American League Player of the Week Award on Monday -- and it was well deserved. The Japanese phenom hit .474 last week with four home runs and 10 RBIs, reminding everyone that he can still make a major impact at the plate.
"I'm very humbled by it, especially after missing six weeks with the injury," Ohtani told MLB Network on Tuesday. "I was very proud that I was able to come back and win this award again."
Ohtani acknowledged he was saddened by the news that he would not be able to pitch, likely until the 2020 season, due to a torn UCL in his right elbow. But he responded better than just about anyone could imagine hours after the Angels' announcement on Wednesday, going 4-for-4 and clubbing two homers against the Rangers.
"I wasn't the only one who was kind of down," Ohtani said. "Everyone around me who has supported me was down as well. So, I wanted to keep everyone in good spirits by performing well on the field."
Ohtani's week in total included a .474/.565/1.263 slash line and his first two dingers of the season off left-handed pitchers. Entering Tuesday, Ohtani's .595 slugging percentage ranked fourth among players with at least 250 plate appearances behind AL MVP Award candidates J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts and Michael Trout. Ohtani has homered in roughly one out of every 16 plate appearances.