Shohei Ohtani Surrenders Home Run, Strikes Out 2 vs. Brewers in Angels Debut

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2018

TENPE, ARIZONA, FEBRUARY 22: Shohei Ohtani of Los Angeles Angels in action during a training session on February 22, 2018 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)
Masterpress/Getty Images

Prized free-agent signing Shohei Ohtani made his MLB debut on the mound for the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday in a Cactus League game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe, Arizona.

In 1.1 innings of work, the 23-year-old native of Japan threw 31 pitches. He allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits (one home run) and one walk, while striking out two.

Ohtani exited the game in the top of the second with the game tied at 2-2 shortly after allowing a solo home run to Brewers outfielder Keon Broxton.

The Angels tweeted the following video of Ohtani throwing the first pitch of his MLB career:

Ohtani's first inning was an eventful one, as he experienced no shortage of ups and downs.

It started with Brewers second baseman Jonathan Villar clubbing a ground-rule double to center field after he fell behind 3-1 in the count.

The ball went over center fielder Eric Young Jr.'s head, and MLB.com's David Adler suggested it was a play that may have been made if Mike Trout was in his usual spot:

After Villar's double, Ohtani showed off his dominant stuff by striking out third baseman Nate Orf with a nasty splitter, as seen in this video from Fox Sports West:

Ohtani followed that up by walking first baseman Ji-Man Choi and then throwing a wild pitch to catcher Manny Pina.

Angels catcher Martin Maldonado then made a throwing error off the wild pitch, which allowed Villar to score.

Ohtani rebounded after that by getting Pina to pop out and then striking out right fielder Brett Phillips looking on a slow curve:

Pedro Moura of The Athletic reported on Ohtani effectively mixing his speeds in the first inning:

After Maldonado gave Ohtani a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first on a two-run single, he returned to the mound to face Broxton in the top of the second.

Broxton attacked a fastball down the middle for a solo shot to tie the score.

Ohtani finished by getting designated hitter Nick Franklin to fly out before being replaced by Eduardo Paredes.

Although Ohtani's first outing was far from perfect, he showed flashes of the ability that made him perhaps the most highly sought-after international free agent of all time.

L.A. won the sweepstakes and signed him to a contract that included a $2.315 million signing bonus, per Moura.

Ohtani is a two-way player who is expected to DH many days when he is not pitching, and the baseball world will eagerly anticipate his debut at the plate in spring training as well.

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