Orioles pitching coach Rick Kranitz told the large media contingent from Japan that Koji Uehara's first bullpen session was one of the best he's ever seen from a pitcher throwing for the first time in the spring. There might have been a bit of hyperbole there, but Kranitz was impressed with Koji's command and pleasantly surprised that he displayed a cut fastball.
"That'll be a big asset for him in this league,'' Kranitz said.
When Kranitz was through, he saw Uehara approaching the media throng and called him out through his interpreter.
"Tell him, I just did my interview in Japanese so he has to do his in English,'' Kranitz said.
"No problem,'' replied Uehara, in English.
The guy has a great sense of humor that comes across even with the language barrier. That much was apparent as far back as his introductory news conference, but he throws in a quip in almost every interview.
He said, in Japanese, that he was satisfied with his throwing session, though he struggled a bit to control his breaking pitches. When he was asked if the difference between the American baseball and Japanese baseball might affect the breaking ball more, he nodded and said the major league ball is a little more slippery than the ball used in Japan. But he also said he doesn't expect it to be a problem very long.
"It's not the first time I've used that ball,'' Uehara said. "I used it in the WBC and the Olympics. It's not that hard to adjust."
Injury update: Pitcher Wilfrido Perez was kept out of today's workout after being removed from the field because of dehydration yesterday.
Sun photo by Doug Kapustin