Koji Uehara’s status doesn’t appear to be improving.
Uehara, who has been battling a hamstring injury at Boston Red Sox spring training, said Monday after throwing a bullpen session that he again felt soreness in the same area. The closer is likely to begin the season on the disabled list and there is no clear timetable for his return.
“I think I’m going to start on the DL just because I haven’t had the games,” Uehara told reporters Monday in Fort Myers, Fla., through a translator. “If that is the case, if I start on the DL, it certainly will be a disappointment. I knew from the beginning that it’s going to be a slow process. It’s from my experience.”
Uehara hasn’t pitched in a game since March 14. He has tossed only three innings this spring, and he has felt soreness in his strained right hamstring after both of his bullpen sessions since suffering the injury while doing conditioning drills March 17. Opening Day has all but been ruled out for the veteran.
“I don’t know when I’ll be back,” Uehara said Monday. “It’s a day-to-day process. I have to do what I have to do to get ready.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell, who said Monday he doesn’t expect Uehara to be ready for Boston’s season opener April 6, plans to use the final week of spring training to sort out the team’s bullpen situation. Edward Mujica is expected to be Boston’s primary closer in Uehara’s absence, but the club could mix and match. A couple of other spots also remain up for grabs.
“I don’t have seven names to give you right now,” Farrell said of his relief corps. “We’ve still got some things to determine how we’re going to form the rotation, whether we go with an additional left-hander or right-hander, what the ramifications coming out of the mix are for the short run, does that likely move Edward back into the closing role, and you’re down to a couple of right-handers, likely three, with two being a little bit better against righties.”
Uehara, who signed a two-year, $18 million contract over the offseason, battled hamstring injuries while with the Baltimore Orioles in 2009 and 2010. He also turns 40 this week, so it’s unsurprising the right-hander and the Red Sox are proceeding cautiously with his ailment.
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