The Boston Red Sox closer’s crispness didn’t spill over into his first spring training appearance.
Uehara surrendered two doubles, a single and a run Friday as the Red Sox lost to the Miami Marlins 5-3 in Grapefruit League action at JetBlue Park. It was a shaky first outing for Uehara, who will be monitored closely throughout the season, but the right-hander wasn’t too concerned about the poor results.
“I’m not even looking at my location or anything. I’m just trying to get my innings in,” Uehara told reporters in Fort Myers through a translator. “Just being on the mound and being able to repeat my pitches. I think I was able to do that.”
Uehara’s spring debut occurred earlier than previous seasons with the Red Sox, which manager John Farrell recently said speaks to the optimism regarding the pitcher’s health. Nothing appears to be holding Uehara back physically at this point in camp, even if the results weren’t exactly there Friday.
“Regardless of status and career path and point in career, it’s going to take outings in spring training to gain consistency, and Koji’s no different,” Farrell told reporters after Friday’s loss.
Uehara likely will need eight to 10 appearances this spring before he’s ready, according to Farrell. It’ll be interesting to see how the Red Sox manage Uehara’s workload throughout the season, though, as he turns 40 before Opening Day and is coming off back-to-back campaigns in which he was used heavily.
Thumbnail photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images
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