From the Super Mario Wiki
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It grows up to two to three times larger whenever Mario and Luigi attack it. It attacks by spitting a piece of batter and slamming it with its club at the bros. The direction it holds its club is to indicate which one of the Bros. is being attacked. This attack can be countered with the hammer. It may miss the swing up to two times in an attempt to lower the player's guard. Protobatters also have stronger faster cousins called Pwallops that appear in the Energy Hold.
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story / Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr.'s Journey
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