Athletics

Ohtani looks like Angels ace in first spring start vs. A's

Athletics

The A’s were the first team in spring training this year to face Los Angeles Angels’ two-way player Shohei Ohtani as a pitcher on Friday.

A’s manager Bob Melvin said heading into the game facing Ohtani always is an adventure.

“When he’s healthy and doing his thing, he’s a tough customer,” Melvin said.

Ohtani ended up striking out five and looked strong across 1 2/3 innings in his Cactus League debut.

The A's scored off Ohtani thanks to doubles in the second inning from Ramon Laureano and Tony Kemp. Ohtani gave up three hits, two walks and one run in his start.

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But Ohtani's stuff stole the show. Check out this nasty splitter that had left Mark Canha with little chance, and had San Diego Padres pitcher and fellow Japanese star Yu Darvish shook

Ohtani, according to The Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya, said he was having a little trouble locating his slider earlier in some of his counts, but was encouraged with where his splitter was. And obviously so was Darvish. Ohtani said his velocity tracked from 96-99 mph on Friday.

Ohtani pitched in two games in 2020 before getting shut down with a right forearm strain, after recovering from Tommy John surgery. But if he looks anything like the pitcher the A's faced Friday, it's clear there's another ace in the AL West.