Manager Dave Trembley was asked what he’s seen from reliever Koji Uehara, who’s thrown two scoreless innings since coming off the disabled list.
“He’s ideal to come in and throw after a guy that’s throwing 96 or 97 mph,” Trembley said. “I really don’t think it matters with Koji who he comes in after or who he pitches to because he’s going to be who he is and pitch his game. He’s a guy that locates, changes speeds. His arm speed is such that it’s very deceptive. The ball comes out of his hand and probably in a lot of instances looks like it’s a lot quicker than in fact it is. It gets on the hitters in a hurry. It gets on them quick. From that standpoint, I think he’s very good in short stints.”
Are there limitations when using Uehara?
“I wouldn’t have used him in the second game of the day-night doubleheader,” Trembley replied. “We know the history that he’s had with his arm. I think you have to be cautious in overusing him. I think he’s set up exactly where he should be in the bullpen. I think he’s able to go back-to-back days, but I think you still have to be careful with him.
“To pitch as good as he’s pitching right now and to be healthy as the year goes on, you really can’t afford another breakdown with him because if you get a breakdown with him, you’re looking at an extended period that you go without him and you can see just in the two times he’s pitched here for us how valuable he’s been. You’d hate to lose him again by overworking him or by not being smart when you did work him.”
A member of the Japanese media asked if Uehara will return to the rotation. Not a chance.
“I think Koji will stay in the bullpen. I think that’s best for him and the team. I don’t think you’ll see him start again,” Trembley said.
“I think you’re asking for trouble if you try to extend him out. That’s advice I’ve gotten from our medical people.
“I like the fact that he goes out there and he throws less than 15 and he gets three outs. That’s beautiful. We need more guys to be that efficient.”
Trembley also talked about Double-A reliever Luis Lebron, who underwent ligament-reconstructive surgery today in Birmingham, Ala.
“That’s a power arm, a guy that we saw in spring training that’s got quite a fastball. “I’m going to tell (Alfredo) Simon to get in touch with him and tell him to do the same program Simon did so he can come back as soon as Simon.”
Another minor league note: Pitcher Oliver Drake was activated from the disabled list and joined Single-A Frederick’s roster. Pitcher Brett Bordes was transferred to short-season Single-A Aberdeen.