Japanese pitcher Koji Uehara landed at Dulles International Airport today and spoke briefly with a group of 25 Japanese reporters who were there to greet him. He made just a few comments after the 13-hour flight and, presumably, headed for Baltimore for his physical tomorrow.
One of the Japanese newspaper reporters passed along a comment from Uehara to Sun baseball writer Dan Connolly, who passed it along to me. Now I'm passing it along to you.
"I'm here for the medical check and to sign a contract,'' he said. "Thay's my purpose. This is just a beginning. This is just a first step. I have to work hard to succeed now at this level."
It'll be a whirlwind week for Uehara, who flew in with his wife. He'll undergo the physical tomorrow and take part in a news conference at the warehouse on Wednesday. Then he's scheduled to fly home to Japan and hold a news conference there on Friday.
Unless the Orioles medical staff discovers that he's missing an arm or something, he'll report for spring training with the rest of the pitchers and catchers to the Orioles' Fort Lauderdale training facility on Feb. 14.