Baltimore Orioles Pitcher Koji Uehara Wants to K You
Loyal Orioles fans are buzzing about the pitcher making his major league debut this evening at Camden Yards against the hated Yankees. No it’s not Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta or Chris Tillman –the highly anticipated cavalry of kids that manager Dave Trembley assures us is on the way. No, this newcomer is a 34-year-old veteran of the Yomiuri Giants with a 103-50 career record in Japan. Fifty-five years after American League baseball returned to Baltimore with some players on the roster who’d battled Japan in World War II, the O’s will finally suit up their first player from the Land of the Rising Sun.
Uehara’s stats, and the brief glimpses we got in spring training, indicate he’s got a nice arsenal of pitches that he absolutely knows how to get over the plate. However, after failing to pitch even 90 innings in either of the past two seasons, the main question is whether he’ll have the necessary durability to fill his assigned number two starter role.
I’d be kidding you if I pretended to have any insight beyond a wish and/or guess…but I sure look forward to finding out. At a minimum, I’m counting on him to become the best player with a surname beginning with “U” in Orioles history. Considering lefty reliever Tom Underwood –the club’s only other “U”-man — did little to distinguish himself in his lone season in Baltimore, that may be setting the bar too low.
The coolest thing about Uehara is that his initials are K.U. Tonight’s the night he starts living up to his monogram against MLB hitters. Good luck!
by Mal Allen