Shohei Ohtani’s elbow surgery scar sure isn’t comforting for Dodgers fans

DodgerFest / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

DodgerFest took place this weekend in Los Angeles, and fans and media came out in droves to see Dodgers old and new talk about the upcoming season and give fans a clearer preview of what we'll see in 2024. New Dodgers Shohei Ohtani and Tyler Glasnow were both present.

Notably also in attendance were Tony Gonsolin, who we won't see on the field this year after he underwent Tommy John in September, top prospects/rookies Emmet Sheehan, Landon Knack, and Nick Frasso (just to name a few), and, of course, Dodger mainstays in Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and Max Muncy.

Ohtani, unsurprisingly, was the biggest highlight. Even when he wasn't present, his name could be heard in every corner of Dodger Stadium throughout the weekend, with Chris Taylor even half-joking, half-telling the truth when he said that he'd answered more questions about Ohtani than himself this offseason.

Dave Roberts confirmed that Ohtani will be the team's everyday DH in 2024, hitting toward the top of the lineup in some kind of terrifying 1-2-3 punch with Betts and Freeman. While it was thrilling to see Ohtani in a Dodgers jersey, excited and seemingly more than ready to play this year, there was a wrinkle that should remind fans that he, too, will be coming off of a major injury: a long scar on the inside of his right elbow.

Shohei Ohtani’s UCL surgery scar is a bleak reminder for Dodgers fans

Ohtani underwent surgery on his UCL in September 2023, his second major elbow injury since a UCL tear that required Tommy John in 2018, his rookie season. The most recent torn UCL ended his pitching season in late August, but he continued to DH through Sept. 3 before sitting for the rest of the season and having the surgery performed on Sept. 19. The Japanese star's prognosis was promising but not ideal; from the outset, he was expected to be able to hit in 2024, but wouldn't be able to return to the mound until 2025.

Given the videos that the Dodgers have sprinkled across social media of Ohtani working out at Dodger Stadium this offseason, he's clearly in good physical shape, and both he and the team are sure that he'll be ready by Opening Day. Ohtani himself said that he's right on schedule.

However, the scar is a sobering reminder that we won't see the other half of Ohtani's skillset for another season and, despite the fact that he will undoubtedly do his best to return to his Cy Young vote-getting ways of years past, nothing is certain.