Boston Red Sox Bullpen Has Help Coming On The Horizon With Reliever Koji Uehara Nearing Return From Injury
Fear not Boston Red Sox fans your bullpen woes may soon be over with the return of reliever Koji Uehara being immanent. Eh, one second thought your bullpen fears will continue as the 41 year old had a 4.50 ERA before going down with a pectoral injury on July 19th.
Uehara was in the midst of his worst statistical season in his big league career when he was placed on the DL. But the return of Koji is actually needed with little reliable options out of the pen outside of Kimbrel and Ziegler.
Uehara threw a 25-pitch bullpen on Monday and could activated as soon as the weekend, according to manager John Farrell. He could be activated as soon as next Monday with the next step for him in his rehab being two more bullpen sessions on Wednesday and the second being on Saturday.
He came out of today’s work session in good fashion,” Farrell said. “It was 25 pitches to hitters with good intensity, both his fastball and his split. He may have mixed in an occasional cutter, but it’s been impressive to see how he’s handled the volume, and now three times on the mound the intensity to his bullpens and the BP.
The Red Sox are unlikely to have Uehara pitch in rehab appearances with their Salem affiliate who is in the midst of a playoff run.
I don’t know that we would send him to a playoff team in Salem to get any additional work,” Farrell said. “We’ll re-assess where he is after Sunday. I wouldn’t rule out activation after the BP. Again, I think in fairness to Koji, what we’ve done is just review how he feels after each work session and we’ll take it from there.
If all goes well this week and Uehara makes his return next Monday it will be an improvement over the options they currently have in the bullpen. Uehara is the third most reliable option out of the pen, pitchers such as Tazawa and Barnes have struggled mightily, going forward manager John Farrell should trust no one out of the pen.
My bullpen rotation would look like this:
Innings 4-6: Clay Buchholz ( No pitching back to backs) and Junichi Tazawa who I have no trust in
7: Robbie Ross Jr., Matt Barnes
8: Brad Ziegler and Koji Uheara split time
9: Craig Kimbrell
You’ll note that I left Fernando Abad off of this list, reason being I would rather have Joe Kelly or Heath Hembree up here. Abad I would pitch in zero risk situations up more than 5 runs instead of sending Ziegler out with a seven run lead like Farrell did on Saturday for no reason.