Red Sox Closer Koji Uehara Believes Shoulder Injury ‘More Mental’

Koji UeharaThe injury that is currently sidelining Boston Red Sox closer Koji Uehara might be more mental than physical.

During some pregame long-toss Friday at Yankee Stadium, Uehara began to feel some tightness in his right shoulder, and it triggered some memories to the injury that set him back two years ago while with the Texas Rangers. Back then, Uehara missed two months with a strained lat muscle, and after feeling some of the same sort of pain in that same shoulder in New York, the closer began to perhaps prematurely overreact.

“I think it was more mental,” Uehara said through translator C.J. Matsumoto, per the Boston Herald. “The fact I had the same kind of feeling two years ago, that was sort of a sticking point. That’s something that only people who went through that injury (could relate to).”

Uehara received encouraging news Monday when an MRI revealed no structural damage to his shoulder. He continues to come closer to returning, as he now has thrown twice, including long-toss from as far as 200 feet Tuesday in Chicago.

Uehara is expected to throw a bullpen session Wednesday and could be back on the mound for the Red Sox by Thursday.

“It was a good feeling to know that I was able to throw from that long distance and also the fact there was no structural damage,” Uehara said. “That gave me a lot of peace of mind.”

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