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Shohei Ohtani strikes out the side in the first inning of his home pitching debut

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Athletics P/DH Shohei Ohtani made his home pitching debut on Sunday afternoon against the Athletics. The right-hander threw 15 pitches, striking out Matt Joyce, Marcus Semien, and Jed Lowrie to get through the first inning easily. The Angels gave Ohtani a two-run lead in the bottom half of the inning.

Ohtani made his major league pitching debut last Sunday in Oakland, yielding three runs on three hits and a walk with six strikeouts across six innings.

On the hitting side of things, Ohtani has homered in three consecutive games. He’s very talented.

Aaron Hicks would like to avoid Tommy John surgery

Aaron Hicks
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The Yankees’ 2019 run ended in heartbreak on Saturday night when, despite a stunning ninth-inning comeback, they fell 6-4 to the Astros and officially lost their bid for the AL pennant. Now, facing a long offseason, there are a few decisions to be made.

One of those falls on the shoulders of outfielder Aaron Hicks, who told reporters that he “thinks he can continue playing without Tommy John surgery.” It’s unclear whose recommendation he’s basing that decision on, however, as MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch points out that Tommy John surgery was recommended during the slugger’s most recent meeting with Dr. Neal ELAttrache.

Hicks originally sustained a season-ending right flexor strain in early August and held several consultations with ElAttrache and the Yankees’ physician in the months that followed. He spent two and a half months on the 60-day injured list and finally returned to the Yankees’ roster during the ALCS, in which he went 2-for-13 with a base hit and a Game 5 three-run homer against the Astros.

Of course, a handful of strong performances doesn’t definitively prove that the outfielder is fully healed — or that he’ll be able to avoid aggravating the injury with further activity. Granted, Tommy John surgery isn’t a minor procedure; it’s one that requires up to a year of rest and rehabilitation before most players are cleared to throw again. Should Hicks wait to reverse his decision until he reports for spring training in 2020, though, it could push his return date out by another six months or so.