Koji Uehara is human. He’s also a ninja.
OK, maybe only one of those is true. But Clay Buchholz revealed Sunday — before Uehara suffered a Game 3 loss Monday that had his teammates saying that he’s only human — that the Red Sox have a unique nickname for the Japanese closer.
“We call him ‘The Ninja,’” Buchholz said Sunday. “He throws two pitches and it always seems like the hitter is looking for the other one. He’s been unbelievable. It’s been crazy to watch all season how he can go out there and throw one inning and nine pitches on average and be three up, three down. I think we had a little thing going, wondering why he wasn’t in the starting rotation. He could probably throw a complete game in 65 pitches. It’s been fun to watch. It’s another addition to this team that’s made us better than we were in years past.”
Uehara has been dominant all year for the Red Sox since signing with the team last offseason, and although he gave up a game-winning home run to Jose Lobaton in the ninth inning of Monday’s Game 3, the right-hander’s teammates have total confidence in his ability to shake off the improbable long ball.
“I mean, he’s human,” catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said following Monday’s loss. “You guys got to remember he is a human being and things are going to happen. The good thing is he’s able to bounce back. He’s done it all year long. I don’t expect anything different.”
The Red Sox now lead the Rays 2-1 in their best-of-five ALDS. Jake Peavy and Jeremy Hellickson will square off in Game 4, while “The Ninja” waits in the wings for another opportunity.