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“Those who pay attention to the game know he’s a very valuable and very competent reliever,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “He’s got his own style; he’s got a lot of deception. If you must measure it out in terms of the radar gun, it’s average velocity. His deception, his command, is outstanding.”
The Red Sox want to use Uehara as a late-inning setup man, somebody who can pitch the entire seventh or eighth inning.
“When you look at strikeout ability, can attack lefties and righties. He’s not a situational righthander by any means,” Farrell said.
Uehara will turn 38 in April and the Red Sox plan to be cautious in not overusing him. Although his statistics do not reflect that, the Sox feel Uehara will benefit from not pitching on back-to-back days.
“You look back on his usage, that’s when he seems to have his best outings,” Farrell said. “Coming in to start an inning, work his way through any traffic if it does emerge inside a given inning. Not to say that he can’t pitch on back-to-back days. But when he’s been used every other day type of approach, he’s been really good.”
Globe: Uehara a good fit
I have been harping a lot this off season about how good this bullpen is and it really started when the Sox signed Uehara. He's just that damn good. If you don't believe me just look at the stats over the last two seasons:
102 Games (101 Innings), 2.13 ERA, 128 K, 12 BB, 58 H, WHIP 0.693
Now granted he's been limited due to injuries, but when you average a WHIP of 0.693 over two seasons, you must be doing something right. His splitter is filthy and I'm 99.9% positive that Jerry Remy will try and give that pitch a nickname this season. (It won't trump the Okie Dokie, but that's... well that's okie dokie by me.)
The way Farrell describes his plan on dispatching Uehara is perfect. Let him go out there every other day and throw an inning or more and let him rest. The Sox have that luxury of having so many quality arms in the bullpen that they don't need to throw him out there every day and let him come back dominant the next time.
Boston fans are going to fall in love with this guy. I can already hear the "Lets Go Koji!" chant while he's trying to finish off the Yankees in a tightly contested game. He's going to be a treat to watch this year.
Rest of the Links: Globe: Westmoreland retires | How good will Ortiz be? | Herald:So far, so good from top 3 | Sox pitchers share their initial war stories | Westmoreland forced to call it quits | CSNNE: Bailey is in a good place | Wright 'happy' to be working with Wakefield on knuckleball | WEEI: Westmoreland got dealt a bad hand | Lester goes four innings, continues to impress | Sox prospect Westmoreland retires at 22 |