Mesa, Arizona – Shohei Ohtani made an impressive pitching debut at spring training on Friday, striking out five batters in 1⅔ innings in the Los Angeles Angels’ 7-3 win over the Oakland Athletics.
The Angels clocked Ohtani’s fastball at 100 miles per hour (161 kph) as the Japanese two-way star pitched in a game for the first time since Aug. 2, 2020.
He threw 24 strikes in his 41-pitch outing, giving up one earned run on three hits and a pair of walks.
In his long-awaited return to the mound, Ohtani struck out three batters in the first inning as he worked his way around a double and a walk. He also gave up a pair of doubles and one walk in the second, but struck out two batters before exiting.
“I got through my pitch count well, and was able to practice throwing with a runner on base, which is something you can only do in a game situation,” Ohtani said.
The 26-year-old’s return to the mound continues a strong spring training. It came just two days after he crushed a monster 143-meter home run in a win over the Texas Rangers.
The 2018 American League Rookie of the Year did not pitch in 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery and made only two starts in 2020 before going down with a flexor strain.
Manager Joe Maddon said he expected big things on the mound from Ohtani, who will be inserted as a regular part of the six-man rotation and no longer limited to pitching on specific days.
“Whenever his day comes up, his day comes up,” Maddon told MLB.com. “We haven’t decided the pecking order. But once that’s established, he’ll be part of that order and be like everybody else.”
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