Results tagged ‘ Koji Uehara ’
A few quick notes from today…
Mike Gonzalez said he felt good after tossing 8 pitches (5 for strikes) in the sixth inning of the Orioles Triple-A game against the Red Sox this afternoon. Gonzalez, who has been sidelined since Saturday with lower back stiffness, said the plan is to pitch another inning on Sunday.
Brian Roberts did some swinging right-handed yesterday, doing flips and tee work, according to manager Dave Trembley. Roberts told the media today that he would try to do more today and will have a better idea how his back is responding to the epidural in 3-4 days. He was cleared yesterday by Dr. Lee Riley to participate in baseball-related activities.
Koji Uehara is day-to-day with a left hamstring strain. Both Andy MacPhaili and Trembley said they aren’t concerned yet, but there’s not a lot of details yet. It isn’t the same spot as his previous injuries, but it’s still a left hamstring issue, so Koji says, “it’s always a concern.” He wasn’t sure when he would get back on the mound, but was planning on playing light catch tomorrow.
Felix Pie is still a go to play on Saturday.
The Orioles also sent Wilfrido Perez to Double-A Bowie prior to Thursday’s game. The lefty didn’t allow a hit or a run over 3 1/3 scoreless innings this spring, and Trembley said it was time for Perez to get some more innings.
“He’s right on track to start pitching,” Trembley said. “A guy coming off arm surgery,
he’s done very well. Left-handed, has a lot of value and is important to
us. Needs to go pitch. Has two things going for him: He can throw the
breaking ball and he can throw the changeup. Needs more experience,
needs to pitch.”
And here are the lineups from Bright House Field, which is my favorite stadium in Florida..
Robert Andino SS
Ty Wigginton 2B
Nolan Reimold DH
Luke Scott LF
Garrett Atkins 1B
Lou Montanez RF
Josh Bell 3B
Chad Moeller C
Jeff Salazar CF
Brian Matusz LHP
Jimmy Rollins SS
Shane Victorino CF
Chase Utley 2B
Ryan Howard 1B
Raul Ibanez LF
Jayson Werth RF
Greg Dobbs 3B
Brian Schneider C
Kyle Kendrick RHP
It was quite a 5th inning for the Orioles with Craig Tatum
suffering a left index finger contusion and Koji Uehara leaving with a left
hamstring strain, all within a span of eight pitches. The full story’s up here.
If Koji is sidelined for a significant
amount of time, it could have an effect on the Orioles bullpen competition.
I should have more of a report on Koji on Friday afternoon. Mike Gonzalez is pitching one inning in the Orioles Minor League game at Ed Smith Stadium, which is slated to start at 12:30 pm ET. So, I’ll be in Sarasota for a few hours before heading to the O’s-Phillies game in Clearwater. If you’re curious those Minor League games are free and open to the public. For a complete schedule you can check Orioles.com under press releases.
Cla Meredith has
quietly been putting together a great spring, as the right-hander hasn’t
allowed a hit in five scoreless innings of relief. Meredith has appeared in six
games and is one of the candidates for a right-handed relief role in the
“There’s some dogfights going on down there in the bullpen,” manager Dave
Trembley said. “They know it and they’re pitching like they know it.”
Meredith tossed a scoreless again on Wednesday and, along
with Matt Albers, should be considered as a front-runner to make the O’s ‘pen.
Albers hasn’t yielded a run in 6 1/3 innings spread over five games.
With closer Mike
Gonzalez, setup man Jim Johnson,
Koji Uehara and Mark Hendrickson
locks to make the team the three remaining spots will likely be a situational
lefty and two right-handed relief roles. Kam
Mickolio figures to be in the mix for one of those, with Trembley raving
earlier in the spring about a spot in the pen being Mickolio’s to lose.
However, he hasn’t been overly impressive this spring, allowing
two runs in six innings over five games. He’s given up five hits and walked
four with four strikeouts. Three of those walks came in Wednesday’s game as
Mickolio labored in some long counts, yielding a run over two innings.
“Mickolio had good stuff but ran his pitch count up, ” Trembley
said. “I would have liked to see him put hitters away a little earlier.”
Koji Uehara came on in the third inning and tossed all of eight pitches. That was all he needed to get Fernando Perez, Gabe Kapler and Carl Crawford. The short stint was Koji’s first appearance as a reliever and his first time on the hill in a game since June 23, after hamstring and elbow issues ended his season early.
Here are Koji’s post-game comments..
On his appearance…
“It’s been a while, so I was thinking about how I would throw, and I felt good.”
On the quick inning
“I didn’t try to finish in eight pitches. The opponents got quick at-bats.”
On switching roles
“Obviously the role is different, but I have done this before. No challenges. I’m not worried about it.”
Do you feel more comfortable this year?
“I know what to expect. It’s definitely easier.”
Koji Uehara was pleased with his performance in today’s live batting practice session, saying through interpretor Jiwon Bang that he was able to command the ball better than his last outing.
Although manager Dave Trembley has previously raved about Uehara’s conditioning, Koji said it was “tough to tell” whether he was in better shape this spring than at the same time last year.
“One thing I can tell you is that the way I’m approaching it from last season, as a starter and as a bullpen guy, is different,” he said. “The number of pitches, stuff like that.”
A former closer in Japan, the Orioles will use Koji in a relief role this season, as their projected starting rotation includes Kevin Millwood, Jeremy Guthrie, Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman.
“Koji loooked good again,” Trembley said. “[His ball was] down, threw some good splits.”
Koji Uehara threw a bullpen session today that left manager Dave Trembley raving about how strong the right-hander looked.
“He looks quick with his arm,” Trembley said. “He
has late life on his pitches. That’s what he looked like at the
beginning of [last] season. We need him to continue that for us.”
Trembley also noted that Uehara seems better prepared to deal with the rigors of pitching in the American League East.
“He’s more integrated into what the
program is here,” Trembley said. “And he must have done an awful lot of work in the
off-season because last year I think it was new for him and he didn’t
really know what to expect. This year it looks like he’s come in with a
whole lot better idea of what the routine is here.”
I guess Koji’s new trainer is paying off. Although, Koji has opted to workout with the team this year, and I’ve been told last spring that wasn’t always the case. Maybe there really is something to that strength in numbers expression…
When Trembley was asked about Brian Roberts’ timeline, he said he was going to check in with hitting coach Terry Crowley to see what the plan was. So, I sought out Crow with fellow reporter Roch Kubato, and Crowley’s plan right now isn’t concrete. Seems he’s playing things by ear, although Crowley sounded less optimistic than Roberts about when the second baseman would take live batting practice. Roberts had said on Tuesday that he had hoped to start taking BP within a week. It’s something that is possible, but I got the feeling from Crowley that that maybe too soon. In the meantime, he’s going to continue to soft toss, hit in the cage and take fielding practice.
Both of these stories will be on the site soon, but here’s the short version. Japanese pitcher Koji Uehara will be working out of the bullpen and second baseman Brian Roberts is dealing with back spasms, but is believed to be on track for the first full-squad practice on Feb. 23.
This is Trembley on the Koji decision:
“I think it’s in his (Uehara’s) best interests and the best way to get him through the entire season,” Trembley said.”There will be more opportunities for him to be successful and for us to win.”
Koji wasn’t available today, but he did say yesterday he was willing to do whatever the Orioles asked. His goal was to stay healthy and make it through the Major League season, and pitching out of the ‘pen should help alleviate some of his injuries. Pitching coach Rick Kranitz also pointed out that Koji struggled after he made it around the batting order. I looked it up and the numbers are striking.
1st plate app. opponents are batting .200
2nd time: .292
3rd time: .339
“I think he can fit a number of roles for us,” said Kranitz who believes Uehara is better suited for the bullpen given his two-pitch arsenal. Kranitz also said Uehara could be a few innings guy or just get a big out or two. He mentioned giving Jim Johnson or Mike Gonzalez a night off if need be.
As for Roberts, there was a report he had kidney stones, which Trembley cleared up by saying the second baseman has back spasms. Trembley texted back with him yesterday and Roberts said he was going to be a go for the first day of Spring Training. He’s still working out in Arizona.
Also, Trembley said the only pitcher who is restricted in camp right now is Brad Bergesen. I spoke with Bergesen a little, and he’s itching to get out on the mound, in what he hopes will be 10-14 days. Right now, he’s just doing some strengthening stuff and is glad to be back around baseball.