Koji and more Matusz

Making his first appearance since June 23, Koji Uehara retired Tampa Bay in order on only eight pitches.

He wasn’t trying to dispose of the Rays that quickly. It just worked out that way.

“It’s been a while, so I was thinking about how I would throw, and I felt good,” Uehara said through his interpreter.


“I didn’t try to finish in eight pitches. The opponents got quick at-bats.”

Uehara seems fine with the idea of pitching in relief this season, though he signed last winter to be a starter.

“Obviously, the role is different, but I have done this before,” he said. “No challenges. I’m not worried about it.”

Asked if he feels more comfortable this spring, Uehara replied, “I know what to expect. It’s definitely easier.”

Here’s what Brian Matusz said about the home run he surrendered to Sean Rodriguez:

“Initially, I thought it was going to be a fly ball to right field, but with 20-mph winds howling to right field, there’s always a chance you get it up in that jet stream and it’ll take it out. The pitch before, fastball down and in, I thought it was right where I wanted to put it, and the umpire (Bill Welke) called it a ball, which is going to happen. You’re not going to get all your calls. But I thought I did a good job of throwing fastballs down and in on righties today and I ended up missing just a little bit over the plate because I didn’t want to miss ball four down and in, and he was able to inside-out it a little bit and put it up in that jet stream. And that’s going to happen. I’m not mad about it. I’ve just got to continue working hard.”

Wilfrido Perez easily disposed of the Rays in the seventh inning. They still hold a 5-4 lead in the top of the eighth.

Rhyne Hughes is 0-for-2 with two strikeouts.

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