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O's make first Asian inroad

Give some props to Sun baseball writer Dan Connolly for breaking the news that the Orioles have agreed to terms with Japanese right-hander Koji Uehara pending some contractual details and a physical.

I'm sure there is about to be a wave of criticism for this move, because Uehara struggled last year in Japan and even spent some time in the minor leagues, but there's way more to this acquisition than meets the stat sheet.

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Frankly, I don't know if the guy is good enough to be a capable No. 3 or No. 4 starting pitcher, but the Orioles are finally trying to think outside the box. Uehara will be the first Asian-born player in O's major league history, but the point is for him not to be the last. The Orioles have had little presence on that side of the Pacific Rim and they needed to sign at least one of the two Japanese pitchers available this winter to establish Baltimore as a potential destination for future crossover players.

The Orioles had fallen way behind some other organizations in the scouting and acquisition of foreign talent, so Andy MacPhail created a new position for John Stockstill to try and close the international scouting gap. This is the first concrete step in that direction.

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I have no idea how it's going to play out, but spring training just got a little more interesting.

Photo ID: If you were wondering, Uehara is on the far right of the accompanying photo receiving congratulations from teammates after closing out Japan's 6-1 victory over Taiwan in the Beijing Olympics last summer.

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