The Japanese phenom developed a blister while throwing 38 pitches in the second inning.
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani’s third start for the Los Angeles Angels lasted only two innings Tuesday night after he developed a blister on his pitching hand.
The Angels pulled the Japanese two-way sensation early after he yielded three runs and four hits while struggling with his control against the AL-leading Boston Red Sox.
One inning after Ohtani left, the Angels announced the right-hander had developed a blister during the second inning.
Ohtani has had intermittent issues with blisters throughout his first few months with the Angels, and he had a bandage on one of his fingers last week.
Ohtani gave up a leadoff homer to Boston’s Mookie Betts, and he couldn’t throw his formidable breaking pitches for consistent strikes in the first night start of his big-league career. The Red Sox added two more runs in the second on Brock Holt’s RBI single and Andrew Benintendi’s sacrifice fly.
Although his fastball again hit 99 mph and he only walked one batter, Ohtani needed 66 pitches to get through two innings.
The Angels replaced him for the third with Luke Bard, who promptly gave up five runs on three homers to put Los Angeles in an 8-0 hole.
Ohtani won his first two big-league starts in impressive fashion against Oakland, retiring 27 consecutive batters in a combined stretch over the two games. He took a perfect game into the seventh inning against the Athletics nine days ago, striking out 12.
Ohtani’s third start initially was slated for Kansas City last Sunday, but the game was postponed because of frigid weather.
Ohtani also is off to a strong start as the Angels’ designated hitter, batting .367 with three homers and 11 RBIs. It’s unclear how his blister problems will affect his ability to hit.