Atlanta Braves right-hander Michael Soroka returned to the big-league mound Monday night in Oakland, for the first time since Aug. 3, 2020.
Soroka, who has had to battle his way back from multiple Achilles' surgeries, faced the A's in his return to the Atlanta rotation and put up the following line:
Of Soroka's 83 pitches, 55 went for strikes. Soroka against the A's threw a balanced mix of four pitches, and he flashed somewhat increased velocity on his fastball, sinker, and slider. In all, he induced 11 swings and misses and earned 15 called strikes.
The biggest highlight of Soroka's outing actually came courtesy of left fielder Eddie Rosario, who in the second inning robbed Aledmys Díaz of a potential home run:
Soroka yielded his first hit in the third inning, and that led to a bases-loaded, no-out jam. He was able to extinguish the threat via strikeout and then a 4-6-3 double play. The A's broke through against him in the fifth, largely thanks to a three-run home run by Ryan Noda. Soroka rebounded to get the final two outs of the frame and then work a hitless sixth inning.
While the results against what's been one of MLB's worst offenses are no doubt what Soroka wasn't hoping for, the fact that he made it back at all is a triumph. The A's wound up winning the game by a score of 7-2.
Soroka, 25, appeared to be on the cusp of stardom. In 37 career starts, he compiled a 2.86 ERA (159 ERA+) and a 3.11 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Soroka even finished second in National League Rookie of the Year Award voting in 2019, as well as sixth in Cy Young Award balloting -- all the while making the All-Star Game. Unfortunately, the injuries took hold soon after.
Moving forward, Soroka figures to be a key member of an Atlanta rotation that's currently missing Max Fried and Kyle Wright. Regardless of what the future holds, Soroka has already achieved a great deal in 2023.