Sunday, July 14, 2024

Shohei Ohtani strikes out five batters in less than three innings during 2022 spring training pitching debut

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USATSI

Angels two-way superstar and reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani took the mound for the first time in 2022 spring training action on Monday. After the season Ohtani posted in 2021, pretty much every outing — in addition to every plate appearance — is appointment viewing. 

Ohtani did not disappoint. In 2 1/3 innings, he struck out five of the 11 batters he faced. Here’s a nifty little highlight package of the sorcery. 

Ohtani did give up a run on three hits, so it wasn’t a perfect outing or anything, but it’s also his first spring training tune-up. The most important thing, other than staying healthy, would be how the stuff looked, and it was spot on. He threw 50 pitches, so that bodes well for him being close to full strength for the start of the season even after a truncated spring. He will be able to work up around 65 pitches next time out, then 80 and then the regular season is here. 

Ohtani, 27, was 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA (141 ERA+), 1.09 WHIP and 156 strikeouts in 130 1/3 innings pitched last season. It was his first season on the mound after Tommy John surgery. In and of itself, that would be a very successful season for a pitcher.  Of course, Ohtani also hit .257/.372/.592 (158 OPS+) with 26 doubles, eight triples, 46 homers, 100 RBI, 103 runs and 26 stolen bases. 

Combining the efforts, the 9.1 WAR led the majors and Ohtani unanimously won AL MVP, despite a pretty ridiculous offensive season from Blue Jays‘ phenom Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. 

The Angels finished 77-85 last year, as Ohtani’s superstar teammates Mike Trout (36 games) and Anthony Rendon (58 games) were hampered with injuries most of the season. 

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