A day before making his first start on a big-league mound since Sept. 2, 2018, the normally reserved Shohei Ohtani expressed anxiety abound the task ahead, describing his mentality as, ""Definitely not neutral...Some worry, some excitement," according to Maria Torres of the Los Angeles Times.
In Sunday's long-awaited start against the Oakland Athletics, those nerves were apparent.
Ohtani faced six batters in the first inning and did not record an out, allowing three singles and three walks. He allowed a leadoff single to Marcus Semien before walking three consecutive batters. An RBI single by Robbie Grossman put Oakland ahead, 4-0, and ended the disappointing day for Ohtani.
After Ohtani left, Vimael Machin grounded into a double play that scored another run, closing the book on Ohtani's afternoon.
Ohtani averaged 92.9 mph on his fastball, topping out a 94.7 mph. His average fastball velocity in 2018 was 96.7 mph, occasionally topping out at 100 mph. He went 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 51 1/3 innings on the mound as a rookie, before his season was shut down due to a torn ulnar collateral ligament. He won the AL Rookie of the Year for his success as a pitcher and hitter.
Last season, the two-way sensation was limited to hitting only as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. He hit .286/.343/.505 with 18 homers in 425 plate appearances.