Koji Uehara says he’s not injured
|05.01.14 at 11:55 pm ET|
It is perhaps a testament to the historic dominance of Koji Uehara in 2013 that any time he gives up a run, it now requires an investigation into whether there is something beyond a mislocated pitch (or pitches) at fault for his struggles. Of course, the fact that Uehara also missed time in April due to what was described as shoulder tenderness has also created heightened intrigue for any act of struggle.
But after he gave up the ninth-inning solo homer to Yunel Escobar that sent the Red Sox to a 6-5 loss to the Rays, Uehara — whose fastball topped out at 88 mph on Thursday, and who failed to strike out a batter for the first time in his 11 appearances this year — stated clearly that shoulder woes and health concerns had nothing to do with either Thursday’s outing or the home run he permitted last Saturday against the Blue Jays.
“I just left the ball up,” Uehara said through a translator. “Physically I’m fine. … If I wasn’t feeling physically fine, I wouldn’t be pitching.”
Manager John Farrell said likewise that the team has not been told of any physical issue that would diminish Uehara’s effectiveness.
“Once that spell of three or four days we stayed away from him, he’s come back and pitched physically fine,” said Farrell. “He has not mentioned anything as far as restrictions physically.”
Though the idea of Uehara giving up runs seems extremely foreign, the Sox closer offered a reminder that his 2013 campaign didn’t feature singular dominance. Last April and May, he gave up runs in back-to-back outings and in three of six contests. It wasn’t until the start of July that he achieved singular brilliance.
‘It happens every year — April, May, I think even last year I didn’t pitch that well,” said Uehara, who has struck out 17 and walked one so far this year. “I think I’m just pounding the strike zone too much.”
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Weekly Notes: All-stars and signings
- Cup of Coffee: Devers, Chavis power Drive, Rei makes pro debut
- Cup of Coffee: Spinners drop one in extras, timely hitting for Sea Dogs and Red Sox
- Cup of Coffee: Benintendi blasts first professional home run
- Cup of Coffee: Benintendi debuts, Stankiewicz shines for Salem
- Red Sox purchase contract of pitcher Noe Ramirez
- Johnson named to International League All-Star Team
- Cup of Coffee: Kopech goes six strong, Nava returns to Pawtucket
- Red Sox sign two as international signing period opens
- Cup of Coffee: Devers hits clutch homer, GCL Sox remain unbeaten