Angels’ Ohtani returns to mound against Tigers

Detroit Tigers fans will get their first look at Shohei Ohtani on Wednesday.

The Japanese sensation has not batted during the first two games of a four-game series at Comerica Park. He’ll take the mound after having his start pushed back a few days.

Ohtani was originally slated to pitch against the New York Yankees on Sunday but manager Mike Scioscia decided to give him a little more rest due to “workload management.” Ohtani (4-1, 3.35 ERA) threw a bullpen session on Monday.

Ohtani won two of his last three starts with a no-decision sandwiched in-between. His last outing was May 20, when he held Tampa Bay to two runs on six hits in 7 2/3 innings while striking out nine.

“I can’t tell, at this point, if I really needed those two, three (extra) days,” Ohtani told MLB.com and other media members via interpreter Ippei Mizuhara.

The Tigers will try to bounce back from Tuesday night’s game, in which the Angels homered four times in a 9-2 rout. The Tigers had won four of their previous five games, including a 9-3 thumping of the Angels in the opener of the series.

“He’s a big, powerful pitcher,” Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire said of Ohtani. “We’re going to get a first-hand opportunity to watch him do his thing and try to figure out if we can get some hits off him. We’ve faced some pretty good pitchers this year and we’ve battled pretty good with them. This will be a big challenge. At least he’s not hitting.”

Scioscia notched his 1,600th career managerial victory on Tuesday. The longtime Angels manager passed his mentor, Tommy LaSorda, on the list for managerial wins with one franchise.

“He’s a good manager and you have to tip your cap to him, that he could survive that long, especially with one ballclub,” Gardenhire said. “That’s pretty cool.”

The Tigers will counter Ohtani with veteran right-hander Mike Fiers (4-3, 4.78 ERA). Fiers has allowed four earned runs in each of his last two starts. His teammates bailed him out against the Chicago White Sox on Friday, rallying for three runs in the eighth and a 5-4 victory.

“As a starter, you have to make adjustments throughout the start, and hopefully limit the damage,” Fiers told the Detroit News after that outing. “Obviously, I didn’t want to give up four runs. They got me early, but I adjusted and they kept swinging. They made it tough on me. But this team, we are resilient. The bullpen came in and shut it down and we battled back. It shows what this team is about.”

In eight career starts against the Angels, Fiers is 3-3 with a 5.59 ERA.

The Tigers could really use a long outing from Fiers. Their bullpen is beat up and Thursday’s scheduled starter, Francisco Liriano, went on the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday with a strained left hamstring.

Their main lefty out of the bullpen, Daniel Stumpf, joined Liriano on the DL with ulnar nerve irritation.

“We’re killing those guys,” Gardenhire said of his relievers. “We have to use them all the time because our starters don’t get deep.”