Los Angeles Angels two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani struggled mightily in his return to the mound for the Angels on Sunday after a 20-month layoff after tearing his ulnar collateral ligament in 2018, which required an 18-month recovery.
According to ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez, Ohtani walked three batters, gave up three singles and was charged with five earned runs in an outing that lasted less than 20 minutes, as he took the hill against the Oakland Athletics.
Ohtani spent the entire 2019 as a designated hitter.
“He just didn’t throw the ball very well,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “I can’t sit here and make excuses for him. I’m not gonna do that. It just wasn’t his day. The fastball wasn’t coming out, there was no deception in his pitches, and hitters will tell you that.”
Ohtani, 26, only threw 30 pitches before exiting the game leaving two on, no one out, and 4-0 deficit.
The Angels would go on to lose 6-4 at Oakland Coliseum.
“I just have to get that feel for the game back,” Ohtani said. “Today I just felt like I was throwing the ball rather than pitching.”
Maddon is confident in Ohtani’s abilities on the mound.
“This guy is as good as we all think he is. He’s just not comfortable getting back there yet,” Maddon said. “When you come off a severe injury, sometimes you have to fight yourself, those mental roadblocks, in order to get back to where you have been.”