ANAHEIM -- Two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani returned to the Angels' lineup on Thursday night, but he couldn't help his club avoid a three-game sweep against the Red Sox, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in an 8-2 loss at Angel Stadium.Batting sixth -- his highest spot in the Angels' batting order
ANAHEIM -- Two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani returned to the Angels' lineup on Thursday night, but he couldn't help his club avoid a three-game sweep against the Red Sox, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in an 8-2 loss at Angel Stadium.
Batting sixth -- his highest spot in the Angels' batting order this season -- and serving as the designated hitter, Ohtani grounded out in his first at-bat against Boston left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez in the second inning. He then struck out swinging on changeups from Rodriguez in his next two at-bats in the fourth and sixth innings.
"Generally, I handle changeups pretty decently, but today, they threw a lot," Ohtani said through an interpreter. "It was kind of different from all the other pitchers that pitched against me. His changeup is a really good pitch. I just need to keep working on it."
Ohtani struck out swinging for the third time on a 98-mph fastball from reliever Joe Kelly in the ninth. It was his first career multi-strikeout game at the plate, and the first time he went hitless in eight starts at DH.
"[Andrelton] Simmons, the guy that was hitting in front of me, he got on every at-bat," Ohtani said. "I couldn't really extend the inning. I felt like maybe if I drew a walk, a base hit, maybe I could have started a big inning. I wasn't able to do that."
Ohtani, 23, departed his start against the Red Sox on Tuesday after two innings due to a blister on his right middle finger, but the ailment isn't expected to affect his hitting. He is batting .324 (11-for-34) with three home runs and 11 RBIs this season. Manager Mike Scioscia said Ohtani will be back in the lineup on Friday against right-hander Jeff Samardzija and the Giants.
"A lot of our guys had tough nights at the plate," Scioscia said. "Shohei, we've got a lot of confidence in where he is. It's one game that he didn't swing the bat to his capabilities, but we've got a lot of confidence in him. He'll be in there tomorrow again."
Ohtani said his blister is improving, and the Angels remain hopeful that he'll make his next scheduled start on the mound. If the Angels keep him on his once-a-week pitching schedule, Ohtani would start Tuesday in Houston. Ohtani played catch Thursday, and he will throw a bullpen session over the weekend to test the blister's progress.
"The blister is healing up pretty well right now," Ohtani said. "I'm planning on throwing my bullpen as scheduled, two days before my start. I'll try to take care of my blister."
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.