Oakland Athletics: Eric O’Flaherty ‘Feels Great,’ Strikes Out Side in Return to Mound

On Friday night in Stockton, Eric O’Flaherty didn’t look like a pitcher who last took the mound 13 months ago.

The left-hander struck out the side  in his first rehab appearance for the Single-A Stockton Ports, and needed just 13 pitches to do so.

“It’s fun,” said O’Flaherty of returning to game action. “It’s fun to just to compete and not worry about your arm anymore.”

The club signed O’Flaherty to a two-year, $7 million deal in the offseason despite the fact that he was recovering from Tommy John surgery. The lefty hit 91 mph on the radar gun and picked up the win in his first appearance. O’Flaherty also said his arm is beginning to feel “normal.”

“It feels great. It’s starting to feel normal. I guess that’s all you can really hope for is that it just feels natural and normal. It definitely feels like that, so it’s just fun to focus on getting ready now.”

As O’Flaherty explained, the plan is for him to bounce back and forth between the Ports and the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats depending on which team is playing at home. For now, there’s no set date for when he’ll join the bullpen in Oakland.

“I don’t have a time line. I think they’re just going to kind of monitor.”

As the 29-year-old, who owns a 2.85 ERA in eight seasons noted, the focus won’t be on results.

“The main thing’s not going to be performance. It’s just going to be recovery—just how the arm feels. I’m sure we”ll take close up to the full 30 day assignment.”

Watch below as O’Flaherty throws his second strikeout.