Koji Uehara made his second start in Bowie this morning. The Japanese reliever threw only 15 pitches, 11 for strikes in his outing on Tuesday and even less (13 pitches, 8 for strikes) today against the Erie SeaWolves and Prince George’s Stadium.
I had a chance to speak with Uehara after his outing today about his injuries since arriving in Baltimore, his thoughts on the Major League Baseball’s farm system and the pressure he faced with his coaches watching closely today.
You’ve got to wonder with only 28 pitches thrown in two minor league starts, how ready is Uehara to return to Baltimore. Today he walked a batter and recorded two ground ball outs.
“I could have thrown more, but what could I do,” Koji said.
Typically, the Orioles like their major leaguers to rehab as close to Baltimore as possible and after today, the Baysox join the Keys and Tides on the road. Could Koji join the Orioles this weekend when Boston comes to town?
When asked about his experience pitching in the minor leagues Koji laughed and told me “it’s different.” Surely he is eager to rejoin the Orioles and return to major league ball parks and clubhouses. He explained that he did not spend much time in the minor leagues when pitching in Japan so this experience is new to the 35 year old reliever.
Koji was confident in his answers pertaining to his health. He explained that he has been working out to get back to 100 percent and feels comfortable on the mound. I asked him about finding consistency in staying healthy and he told me he just has to keep doing what he’s doing.
If you recall, last season Koji appeared to be exhausted in the 3rd or 4th innings, so a short relief role may be just what the doctor ordered.
We’ll have the full video interview with Koji Uehara momentarily.