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No satisfaction: Koji Uehara sees room to improve after striking out side in 9th

05.08.14 at 12:25 am ET
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Generally, a three strikeout, 13-pitch, 10-strike performance would constitute a sharp outing for Koji Uehara. Uehara’s efficient and quick save to cap off the Red Sox‘ 4-3 win over the Reds was a lot more Koji-esque than his last two outings, where he hadn’t thrown fewer strikes than usual.

And both manager John Farrell and catcher A.J. Pierzynski said that Wednesday’s performance was more reminiscent of the Uehara the Red Sox have been used to seeing.

“Much more sharp,” Farrell said. “He was able to get back on line here tonight and he was Koji-like as we’ve seen for quite a while.”

“That was good Koji, I thought,” Pierzynski said. “Three strikeouts. That’s the Koji we saw last year and the beginning of this year. The last couple of outings have been kind of up and down, not like the way Koji’s been, but today was the good Koji and that’s the one we expect for a long time here.”

It seemed as that everyone was happy with Uehara’s performance — except for Uehara himself.

“I didn’t feel like I was sharp at all,” Uehara said through translator C.J. Matsumoto. “I think mechanical-wise, I don’t think I’m quite there. The split, I wasn’t completely satisfied how it was acting at all.”

Uehara, who just turned 39-years-old on April 3, dealt with shoulder stiffness early in the season and is still working through the injury and general fatigue. One area that the injury has affected Uehara is mechanically. The Red Sox closer watched video and felt the slight abnormality in his throwing motion before making the slight mechanical tweak.

“I know he’s been working on some things,” Farrell said. “The last few times out, he’s been across himself in his direction and his delivery and it’s taken away from the crispness and the overall command of his stuff.”

Farrell believes that Uehara was able to stay more in-line Wednesday night, leading to the three quick strikeouts.

“It was just more about being on line that allowed him to stay behind his arm and better finish to his pitches through the strike zone,” Farrell said. “The overall command was there.”

Uehara believes that there is a reason beyond the shoulder soreness that led to the slight mechanical irregularity.

“I think it’s more fatigue,” Uehara said. “I’m not that young.”

The fatigue is not something that Uehara hasn’t dealt with before. Last year, Uehara felt the soreness and fatigue in his shoulder during April and May. When asked how long it would take for him to completely feel better, Uehara chuckled.

“A season.”

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