Shohei Otani hurt his left hamstring while running to first base in the first inning of a game against the Orix Buffaloes on April 8. He was examined by the team doctor and diagnosed with a second degree strain in his biceps femoris. He will likely require four to six weeks for a full recovery.
Otani also came down with a fever on the evening of April 8. He remained at the team hotel in Osaka on April 9 and returned to Tokyo on April 10. He was tested at a hospital in Tokyo on diagnosed with influenza B. A team trainer told reporters today that his temperature was back to normal.
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Source: Sports Hochi 4/9/2017, Sports Hochi 4/10/2017, Sports Hochi 4/11/2017, Daily Sports 4/10/2017, Daily Sports 4/11/2017, Daily Sports 4/12/2017, Nikkan Sports 4/8/2017, Nikkan Sporst 4/9/2017, Nikkan Sports 4/10/2017, Nikkan Sports 4/11/2017, Nikkan Sports 4/11/2017, Sponichi 4/8/2017, Sponichi 4/8/2017, Sponichi 4/9/2017, Sponichi 4/9/2017, Sponichi 4/10/2017, Sponichi 4/10/2017, Sponichi 4/11/2017
[UPDATE 4/13 @ 5:21pm]
Assuming Otani’s fever does not return, he should be able to move back to the Ni-gun facilities in Kamagaya on April 14.
Source: Sports Hochi 4/13/2017
[UPDATE 4/15 @ 12:01am]
Otani returned to the Ni-gun facilities in Kamagaya on April 14.
[UPDATE 4/15 @ 10:11pm]
Otani started a rehab program at the Ni-gun facilities in Kamagaya. He will be re-examined at a hospital on April 25. If there is no internal bleeding, he will be able to resume outdoor practices.
[UPDATE 4/17 @ 5:30pm]
Otani continued his rehab at Kamagaya today. He again spent some time in an oxygen capsule and had ultrasound treatment. He rode a stationary bicycle for the first time since his injury. A team trainer is modifying his workout schedule based on his condition. He still feels pain in the leg.
Source: Tokyo Sports 4/17/2017
[UPDATE 4/18/2017 @ 6:48pm]
According to a report by Tokyo Sports, the Fighters are denying they did anything wrong by allowing Otani to practice/play through his ankle injury because they let him make the decision. The rules they made, like “no running at full speed,” or “no stepping on the bag with the right foot,” were set by the team as a reminder for Otani not to overextend himself because of his injury.
It should be noted that the Fighters are not necessarily trying to evade any blame for Otani’s current condition, but rather trying to explain the process in which the decisions were made, particularly in light of the recent criticisms made by various outlets.
Source: Tokyo Sports 4/18/2017
[UPDATE 4/19 @ 4:09pm]
A team trainer told reporters on April 18 that Otani still needed more time before he could take regular walks outdoors because he had difficulty taking big strides. He is able to take brief walks indoors with small strides.
Otani did some throwing during practices today. He lightly threw (without using his legs) around fifty baseballs into a net about two meters away from him.
[UPDATE 4/20 @ 10:10pm]
Otani’s workouts today included weights for the upper-half of his body and more throwing into a net (about fifty throws). He will rest tomorrow and resume workouts again on April 22. He was still dragging his left foot while walking.
[UPDATE 4/23 @ 6:41pm]
Otani continued his workouts on April 22. He worked on his upper body and also threw about eighty pitches into a net.
Source: Nikkan Sports 4/23/2017
[UPDATE 4/24 p 2:28pm]
Otani held workouts outdoors today for the first time since his hamstring injury (he did some walking in the outfield). He returned indoors to play catch and for throwing exercises.
Source: Nikkan Sports 4/24/2017
[UPDATE 4/25 @ 6:43pm]
Otani walked for about fifteen minutes in the outfield on April 24. He threw roughly sixty baseballs into a net. When playing catch, he threw the ball thirty times at a maximum distance of around fifteen meters. A team trainer told reporters they will be happy if Otani can get around to walking at a brisk pace before the end of the month.
[UPDATE 4/26 @ 10:54pm]
Otani went to the hospital for a check-up on his hamstring after practices on April 25. There were no changes to his recovery schedule.
[UPDATE 4/29 @ 7:17pm]
There was talk that Otani might be ready to return to the active roster around the start of Inter-league play, but the media learned on April 28 that that may no longer be the case because his recovery is taking a little longer than expected. Hideki Kuriyama told reporters they could not set a schedule until his leg completely healed.
[UPDATE 4/30 @ 8:51pm]
Otani took batting practice on April 29 for the first time since his hamstring injury. He took about sixty swings off a tee without using much of his lower body.
[UPDATE 5/2 @ 10:02pm]
Otani could begin running on May 6.
Source: Nikkan Sports 5/2/2017
The media learned on May 1 that the Fighters applied to have Otani appear on the All-Star ballot as a designated hitter.
Source: Sponichi 5/2/2017
[UPDATE 5/4 @ 12:18pm]
The internal bleeding is going away. Otani is increasing his workload while establishing a safe range of movement with regular check-ups.
Source: Sponichi 5/4/2017
[UPDATE 5/6 @ 5:45pm]
Otani recently added stairs to his workouts (as an extension of the lunges he was doing). He is expected to add running to his workouts soon.
Source: Nikkan Sports 5/6/2017
[UPDATE 5/7 @ 9:46pm]
Otani resumed basic running exercises on May 7. He will begin regular running exercises on May 9.
He started walking stairs on May 6. He spent over twenty minutes walking up and down stairs at Kamagaya Stadium.
[UPDATE 5/9 @ 6:07pm]
Otani started taking batting practice against a pitching machine today. He also started playing catch outdoors.
Source: Nikkan Sports 5/9/2017
[UPDATE 5/10 @ 6:43pm]
Otani threw the ball about fifty times at a distance of around twenty meters while playing catch on May 9. He hit roughly thirty baseballs against the pitching machine.
Source: Sponichi 5/10/2017
[UPDATE 5/11 @ 5:55pm]
The bruise on Otani’s leg was no longer visible to the media on May 10.
Otani worked out indoors on May 10 because of the rain. He did some jogging and played some catch. He also spent time taking batting practice against a pitching machine. He did two sets of around thirty baseballs, twice the amount from the previous day.
[UPDATE 5/13 @ 1:51am]
Otani started working with a medicine ball on May 12. He did six sets of twenty passes with the ball. He also took indoor batting practice against a pitching machine: three five-minute sessions (about thirty baseballs a session).
The Texas Rangers made the headlines on May 12: GM Jon Daniels, assistant GM Josh Boyd, and scouts Yuichi “Joe” Furukawa and Hajime Watabe were at the Kamagaya facilities on May 11. The group was in Japan for about a week and the Kamagaya facilities was their last stop. The last time Daniels was in Japan was to watch Yu Darvish in June 2011.
The Rangers may have showed up at Kamagaya for a number of reasons, including checking to see Otani’s rehab progress and to show good faith in their interest.
[UPDATE 5/14 @ 10:33pm]
Otani took live indoor batting practice (slow pitches) at the Kamagaya facilities on May 13. He swung the bat about eighty times.
[UPDATE 5/14 @ 5:29pm]
Kuriyama told reporters on May 15 that all options are on the table when it comes to how/when Otani returns to the active roster. Only one thing seems to be certain: he will be considered ready to return once he can run the base paths at full speed.
[UPDATE 5/18 @ 12:05am]
Cubs’ international scout Fernando Seguignol was at Naruohama on May 16 to check on Otani’s progress.
Otani’s workouts on May 16 included some running: five thirty-meter dashes and five fifty-meter dashes at fifty to sixty percent. He also took indoor batting practice against a pitching machine (curveballs).
[UPDATE 5/18 @ 5:40pm]
Otani told reporters that he is not planning to have surgery on his right ankle during his current rehab period. When asked if the off-season was a possibility, he said he was not sure.
For outdoor workouts today, he did some running and played some catch (maximum distance of about seventy meters). For indoor workouts, he did some throwing into a net and soft-toss batting practice. He might be ready to take live batting practice outdoors some time early next week.
[UPDATE 5/20 @ 12:29am]
Otani’s is scheduled for another follow-up examination on June 2.
[UPDATE 5/20 @ 4:47pm]
Otani expanding his throwing distance to about eighty meters on May 19. He also did about ten different kinds of ladder drills.
Source: Sponichi 5/20/2017
[UPDATE 5/21 @ 3:05pm]
Otani might be able to start taking live batting practice outdoors on either May 23 or 26. Of the two days, the 26th seems more likely.
Source: Sponichi 5/20/2017
[UPDATE 5/22 @ 12:44pm]
Otani wore a Fighters’ uniform during practices on May 21 for the first time since his injury. He played catch at a maximum distance of about ninety meters.
Source: Sponichi 5/22/2017