Japan's Ohtani scheduled for ankle surgery

Japan's Ohtani scheduled for ankle surgery

Japanese baseball star Shohei Ohtani will undergo right ankle surgery Thursday, The Associated Press reports.

The surgery is to treat the ankle injury Ohtani sustained while running the bases in the Japan Series last October, with Ohtani saying he wants to be in "perfect condition" for next season, per the report.

That ankle injury later caused Ohtani to miss the World Baseball Classic in March. He was also limited to just four starts on the mound in 2017, going 2-2 with a 4.96 EA and 19 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings.

A highly prized two-way player, Ohtani was reported in September to be likely to leave the Japanese Nippon Professional Baseball league this offseason and sign with an MLB team through the posting system.

The 23-year-old won the Japanese League MVP award in 2016 after hitting .322/.416/.588 and posting a 2.12 ERA with 174 strikeouts in 140 innings. Despite the abbreviated season in '17, he hit .340/.413/.557 with eight homers and 31 RBIs.

Jack Baer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.