Sho No! Angels’ Ohtani doesn’t record out in return to mound

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Shohei Ohtani didn’t record an out in the two-way star’s long-awaited return to the mound for the Los Angels Angels, allowing the first six Oakland batters to reach base before his day was done Sunday.

The right-hander from Japan gave up Marcus Semien’s leadoff single and three straight walks before a mound visit and Mark Canha’s two-run single. Robbie Grossman singled in another run, and Angels manager Joe Maddon replaced Ohtani with Matt Andriese down 4-0. The Angels trailed 5-0 after the initial inning, all of those runs charged to Ohtani.

This was a long time coming for the Angels and Ohtani, who released visible deep breaths between pitches.

It was his first appearance on the mound since Sept. 2, 2018, after not pitching last season following Tommy John surgery.

Ohtani threw 30 pitches, reaching 94.7 mph with his fastball – he averaged 96.7 mph in 2018.

Ohtani is expected to be the Sunday starter for the Angels this season and was under no pitch limit. Maddon insists he’s invested in Ohtani being a rare two-way player for what it also means to fans in Japan who have supported his quest. He will also make sure Ohtani stays healthy first.

“I’m looking forward to the day we can get a little bit more aggressive with him. I know he is, too,” Maddon said before the game.

Ohtani batted last season but didn’t pitch as the Angels took a cautious approach with their prized player. He went 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA over 10 starts and 51 2/3 innings in 2018 as a rookie.

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Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani throws against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, July 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
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