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Angels star Shohei Ohtani is out for the rest of the season with an elbow injury

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani is a once-in-a-century talent in baseball.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

With a fastball that reaches 100 miles per hour and the power to hit home runs out of the park, Ohtani is building a legacy as Major League Baseball's greatest two-way player.

MARTÍNEZ: Yeah, the only other player to even come close to what he's done as a hitter and pitcher in Major League Baseball history was New York Yankees legend Babe Ruth.

FADEL: But in a game against the Cincinnati Reds last month, Ohtani was pulled out abruptly, much to the dismay of the Angels TV play-by-play announcers from Bally Sports.

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UNIDENTIFIED SPORTS ANNOUNCER #1: And I think that might be it for Shohei.

UNIDENTIFIED SPORTS ANNOUNCER #2: You can hear the crowd murmur, and Shohei will come out of the game. We've seen this way too many times this year.

FADEL: A routine pitch in the second inning tore a ligament in his elbow, and after elbow surgery this Tuesday, his season was officially over.

MARTÍNEZ: Angels general manager Perry Minasian spoke about why they'll miss Ohtani's presence as they finish out the season.

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PERRY MINASIAN: He's somebody that loves playing. Every game, just doesn't take it for granted, wants to be out there every day and wants to be with his teammates and wants to perform for the fans and for the organization. And I have a lot of respect for that.

FADEL: Before signing with the Los Angeles Angels in 2018, Ohtani started playing professionally in Japan right out of high school.

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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Shohei Ohtani never had more than two straight losses in a season, MLB or Japan.

MARTÍNEZ: Ohtani reassured his fans on Instagram that his procedure went well and said, quote, "It was very unfortunate that I couldn't finish out the year on the field, but I will be rooting on the boys until the end."

FADEL: While elbow surgery ends this season for Ohtani, he'll be able to hit by opening day in March next year. However, he won't be pitching again until 2025.

MARTÍNEZ: Now, Ohtani will be a free agent after this season, so who knows whether he'll return to the Angels when he recovers. Now, despite his injuries, though, Ohtani is primed to get paid. His current Angels teammate Mike Trout has the largest contract in MLB history at just over 426 million. And the early chatter is that it might take a half-a-billion-dollar deal to get Ohtani to sign his name on a dotted line.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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