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Halos hopeful Ohtani (blister) makes next start

Two-way sensation expected to remain in lineup as DH in meantime
MLB.com @mi_guardado

ANAHEIM -- Shohei Ohtani's toughest test on the mound thus far did not end well.

Facing the American League East-leading Red Sox, Ohtani allowed three runs over two innings in the Angels' 10-1 loss in Tuesday night's series opener at Angel Stadium. The 23-year-old right-hander was removed after developing a blister on the middle finger of his right hand during the second inning.

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ANAHEIM -- Shohei Ohtani's toughest test on the mound thus far did not end well.

Facing the American League East-leading Red Sox, Ohtani allowed three runs over two innings in the Angels' 10-1 loss in Tuesday night's series opener at Angel Stadium. The 23-year-old right-hander was removed after developing a blister on the middle finger of his right hand during the second inning.

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Manager Mike Scioscia said the Angels aren't overly concerned with Ohtani's blister, and they remain hopeful he will be able to make his next scheduled start on the mound, which would be next Tuesday if the Angels keep him on his current schedule. The malady isn't expected to affect Ohtani's availability as a hitter.

"We'll be flexible," Scioscia said. "Obviously this is a new wrinkle right now with the blister coming up. We'll read how we get later in the week. He's going to hit a couple times, obviously, before he pitches again. We'll see where everything sets up."

Video: BOS@LAA: Ohtani exits after two innings with blister

Ohtani, who also dealt with blisters in Japan, said his latest one developed following his last start against the A's on April 8, when he carried a perfect game into the seventh inning.

"People took a look at it, and they thought it would be fine for today," Ohtani said through an interpreter. "I also felt the same way, but I tried to pitch today, and with the high intensity of the game, it didn't hold up too well."

Ohtani acknowledged that the blister hampered his ability to locate his pitches against Boston's potent lineup. He gave up four hits, while walking two, striking out one and throwing 66 pitches, 34 for strikes.

Video: BOS@LAA: Ohtani strikes out Martinez in the 1st

While Ohtani's fastball averaged 97.2 mph, he had little command of his secondary pitches and generated only three swinging strikes, none of which came via the 13 splitters he threw. In his first two dazzling starts against the A's, Ohtani had a 70.3 percent whiff rate (26 whiffs on 37 swings) on his splitter.

"I think [the blister] had an effect on his overall command of all his pitches," Scioscia said. "But it particularly affected some of his offspeed."

Mookie Betts led off the game by crushing a full-count, 97-mph fastball from Ohtani to left-center field for a home run. Hanley Ramirez then delivered a one-out single to center, advancing to second on a wild pitch, but Ohtani escaped further damage by striking out J.D. Martinez and coaxing an inning-ending grounder from Rafael Devers.

Ohtani continued to labor in the second, yielding a one-out single to Jackie Bradley Jr. and a walk to Christian Vazquez. Brock Holt followed with a single to left field to score Bradley, and Ohtani then walked Betts to load the bases with one out. The Red Sox extended their lead to 3-0 on a sacrifice fly from Andrew Benintendi, before Ohtani retired Ramirez on a groundout.

Angels reliever Luke Bard replaced Ohtani, then gave up three home runs in a five-run third, putting the Angels in an 8-0 hole.

Ohtani was originally scheduled to pitch Sunday against the Royals, but the game was postponed due to below-freezing temperatures in Kansas City. The two-way phenom entered Tuesday with a 2-0 record, a 2.08 ERA and 18 strikeouts over 13 innings in his first two pitching appearances this season, both against the A's.

Ohtani didn't fare as well against the Red Sox, who rank first in the Majors with an .831 OPS and are off to a 14-2 start.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels, Shohei Ohtani