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Koji Uehara reaches guaranteed 2014 contract option with 55th appearance

08.14.13 at 7:40 am ET
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Red Sox closer Koji Uehara earned more than a win on Tuesday night. With the 38-year-old’s 55th appearance of the season — a 1 1/3 inning scoreless effort in which he retired all four batters he faced and struck out one — Uehara reached a vesting option that calls for him to return to the Red Sox in 2014 for a $4.25 million deal, with incentives that could push the value of the deal to $5 million based on the number of games he finishes.

The Sox certainly won’t complain about the prospect of another year from the pitcher who has emerged as their closer, as Uehara has been one of the most dominant relievers in baseball this year. He has a 1.32 ERA with 75 strikeouts and just nine walks in 54 1/3 innings. Among American League pitchers with at least 50 innings, Uehara is the league leader in strikeouts per nine innings (12.35), ERA, strikeout-to-walk rate (8.3-to-1), WHIP (0.68), opponents’ batting average (.147) and opponents’ OBP (.190).

“He is more than deserving,” manager John Farrell told reporters of Uehara’s vesting option. “He’€™s been an outstanding pitcher for us from Day 1. We don’€™t’€™ forsee that changing because of the competitor he is and how talented he is and how he prepares. He’€™s done one hell of a job in the roles that he has filled.”

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