The Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani returned to the mound on Sunday for his first pitching appearance since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2018. And it did *not* go well.

Ohtani got the start in Oakland against the A’s, and failed to record an out. The right-hander allowed five earned runs, three hits, and three walks. He faced just six batters and threw 30 pitches.

Brutal outings happen for any pitcher, and especially with the rust — particularly in the command department — that comes with not pitching in an MLB game in two years.

But what’s really concerning is that Ohtani’s velocity was *way* down from 2018. After averaging 96.7 mph with his fastball in 2018 (and occasionally touching triple-digits), Ohtani’s average fastball velocity was 92.9 mph on Sunday.

That’s an alarming drop.

However, it’s a tiny sample, Ohtani hadn’t pitched in two years after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and velocity is down for many pitchers early in the season. So maybe he’ll see a velocity boost in his upcoming starts.

And when asked postgame about the velocity, Ohtani didn’t seem worried. Ohtani mentioned how he was aiming too much instead of just pitching/throwing.

Additionally, Angels manager Joe Maddon said that Ohtani’s velocity was a little higher in the Angels’ intrasquad games.

It’s far too early to jump to conclusions, but it’s absolutely concerning until we see the velocity increasing from the two-way sensation. And it’s a tiny season, so it would really help the Angels if Ohtani could see improvements sooner than later.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

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