Canadian Soroka goes six innings against A's in first start since 2020
Canadian Michael Soroka took the mound in an MLB game for the first time in nearly three years Monday night as the Atlanta Braves battled the Athletics in Oakland.
The Calgary native went six innings and allowed four runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts, throwing 83 pitches. Soroka, who received an ovation on his way out to the mound in the opening inning, struck out his first batter and held the A's off the scoreboard for four innings, but ran into trouble in the fifth, allowing an RBI single to Esteury Ruiz and a three-run homer to Ryan Noda, which gave Oakland a 4-1 lead. Soroka got the next two hitters out in the fifth and had a clean sixth before giving way to Kirby Yates the following inning.
"Definitely it's nice to just get back out there and kind of just feel all these things and enjoy this moment, enjoy seeing a lot of these guys that I've known for two years plus and that I haven't really got to go out there and pitch for," Soroka told reporters after the game, adding he felt his stuff was good.
"I had a lot of fun out there. Obviously that one inning, if you could do it again you might do it a little differently, but that's not baseball. I just got back out there and started making pitches again. Glad that I bounced back and still went out there for the sixth and threw another clean inning after. So, it was good all in all, just a couple bad pitches here and there in the fifth, they made me pay."
The Athletics went on to win 7-2 as Soroka took the loss.
"At the end of the day, that was awesome for him. I hope he's happy with that. He can build off that," Braves catcher Sean Murphy said.
Regardless of the mixed results, Monday's start was a milestone for the 25-year-old. He originally tore his Achilles tendon in August of 2020 while going to cover first base on a ground ball to the right side, immediately ending his season. He then re-injured himself while rehabbing the following year, ending any hope of a return in 2021.
Soroka then set his sights on a late-season return in 2022 but an elbow injury caused him to miss his second full season in a row. Finally healthy for spring training this season, he suffered a hamstring strain in February and delayed his return to the Braves’ rotation even longer.
Now, after nearly three years, 1,029 days and countless hours of rehab, Soroka is finally back on a big league mound.
In eight minor league outings this season, the 6-foot-5 right-hander went 1-2 with a 4.33 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 35.1 innings pitched for triple-A Gwinnett.
Soroka owns a 2.86 career ERA across three MLB seasons and finished second in National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2019.