<
>

Shohei Ohtani throws in bullpen before batting cleanup for 1st time

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Japanese two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani threw a bullpen session Sunday about 90 minutes before he was to bat cleanup for the first time for the Los Angeles Angels.

Ohtani, who bats left-handed and throws right, was moved into the fourth spot in the order because Albert Pujols got his first day off this season.

Ohtani was to go "full gorilla," as manager Mike Scioscia calls a full-on bullpen session, as opposed to the "touch and feel" session he threw on Friday before going 2 for 4 as the designated hitter in an 8-1 loss to the Giants.

A blister on his right middle finger forced Ohtani out after just two innings of his pitching start against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night. Ohtani is scheduled to be the Angels' starter for Tuesday night at Houston, opposing Charlie Morton.

On the mound, Ohtani is 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA with 19 strikeouts and four walks.

Entering Sunday's game he was hitting.342 with three homers and 11 RBIs, with 10 strikeouts and three walks. On Sunday, he went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts in the Angels' 4-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants.

"Shohei's looking very comfortable in the batter's box," Scioscia said before the game.. "I think he's getting more acclimated to major league pitching, although obviously every time he goes into a game, chances are he hasn't seen a pitcher, hasn't seen a bullpen, hasn't seen a lot of reactional pitches. In a perfect world you'd like him to experience all that as much as you can. But right now a lot of our guys have been playing a lot and we need to rotate some things and this afternoon makes sense."

Ohtani didn't play in Saturday night's 4-3 victory that snapped a four-game losing streak.

Before Sunday, he had batted twice in the No. 6 spot, once at No. 7 and six times in the eighth spot.

"I don't know if we had any expectations one way or another," Scioscia said about batting Ohtani cleanup so early in the season. "You never know if a guy's going to be comfortable, you never know when your lineup's going to call for some adjustments on a given day, and today it seems the best way to line `em up."

Pujols hit a two-run home run Saturday night for his 2,992nd career hit.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.