Shohei Ohtani likely to make next start despite blister, could DH Thursday

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Shohei Ohtani is expected to make his next scheduled start and won't be limited with his hitting, despite his struggling through a blister in his outing Tuesday against the Boston Red Sox.

Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia was noncommittal about when Ohtani's next turn would come, though a six-man rotation would line up Ohtani to pitch Monday on the road against the defending World Series champion Houston Astros. Ohtani's typical schedule would also have him serve as the designated hitter in Thursday's series finale against the Red Sox, but Scioscia only said that Ohtani would be "available" to be in the lineup that day.

"It's something he's had before and he's managed," Scioscia said of Ohtani's blister. "He's not very concerned with it, but we'll definitely, obviously, pay a lot of attention to it this week."

Ohtani gave up three runs, one of them on a leadoff homer by Mookie Betts, and required 66 pitches to record six outs against the surging Red Sox, the first blemish in what had been a mesmerizing start for the rookie two-way sensation.

Ohtani said his blister, which resides on the inside part of his right middle finger, impacted the effectiveness of all his pitches, especially his split-finger fastball. The 23-year-old right-hander hit 100 mph on the radar gun with a handful of second-inning pitches but generated only three swing-and-misses.

Ohtani has previously dealt with blisters in the same region. Asked postgame about the usual recovery process, Ohtani, speaking through his interpreter, said: "It depends on the severity. Usually, in Japan, I pitch without it fully healing. I've fought through it. I think it's going to be something similar this time, too. ... It's early in the season. I'm just being very cautious with it."

Ohtani, the first player to attempt hitting and pitching since Babe Ruth 100 years ago, gave up only three runs in 13 innings heading into his most recent start. At the plate, he's batting .367/.424/.767 with three home runs in 33 plate appearances.

If he starts Thursday, the left-handed-hitting Ohtani would be facing a left-handed pitcher (Eduardo Rodriguez) for the second time this season. Ohtani said blisters typically don't affect his ability to hit, and Scioscia said he will "be able to throw all his pitches" by the time he starts again.

"He's not very concerned about it," Scioscia said. "Our medical staff is going to pay a lot of attention to it to make sure, first, that he's able to throw his bullpen and see where he comes out of things. He'll take this one step at a time. We won't have to make a decision for a while here."