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.”
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