Koji fine with closer or set-up role

Koji Uehara arrived at the Dave & Buster’s at the Arundel Mills Mall with sideburns that are so long, the ends meet underneath his chin. And he wants to keep them that way as his new “trademark.”

Not sure that’ll be allowed under the club’s facial-hair policy, but I’m rooting for him.

Uehara, speaking through interpreter Jiwon Bang - but also understanding many of the questions before they were relayed to him - said he’s “really happy” to stay with the Orioles.

Asked for the factors that led him to accept the Orioles’ one-year offer, which also included a vesting option for 2012, Uehara replied, “Personal attachment. I’ve been here for two years. And I was satisfied with the way I finished the season last season. I guess I became more confident to play at this level.

“For me, I was always thinking about coming back to Baltimore.”

No one has named Uehara the closer, and he isn’t waiting for it.

“I’m not looking at myself as a closer at this stage,” he said. “If they want me to do it, obviously I’ll be happy to do it. If they want me to set up, I’ll be a set-up guy as well.”

Uehara has attended two Ravens games this year.

“To see it live, something you can’t do in Japan, obviously, is real exciting,” he said.

Also, Jake Arrieta said his elbow feels fine and the fuss made over his bone spur was exaggerated. Brian Roberts says his back feels good, he won’t need any precautions in spring training and he hasn’t made any drastic changes to his off-season routine, though he skipped API this year and is heading to Sarasota.

I’ll pass along quotes later.

blog comments powered by Disqus