Koji Uehara Leaves Game in Ninth With Pectoral Strain

Boston Red Sox new closer Koji Uehara had to leave Tuesday’s win of 4-0 against the San Francisco Giants during the ninth inning after straining his right pectoral and on Wednesday is due to have another evaluation.

In the ninth, Uehara fanned Brandon Belt, but walked Buster Posey prior to walking from the mound and signaling from the infield for a trainer.

Uehara said following the game that he had felt something prior to throwing the pitch that struck out Belt.

Through his translator in the clubhouse, Uehara said that he felt some muscle soreness and is praying that it is not anything serious.

Uehara’s injury could be a big blow to Boston’s already thin bullpen. Craig Kimbrel the official closer for the club is already on the disabled list due to an injured left knee. Uehara has been filling in for Kimbrel as the closer converting five straight save opportunities.

Junichi Tazawa a right-hander for the Red Sox, who currently is on the DL as well with an injury to his right shoulder, should return to the Boston bullpen Friday.

Prior to the Boston game on Tuesday against San Francisco, John Farrell the Boston manager mentioned that Joe Kelly another right-hander, who has been dominant in Pawtucket the team’s Triple-A affiliate since being demoted June 1, is expected to be assigned to the bullpen when recalled this week.

The move could now be expedited if the injury to Uehara is severe enough to keep him out of the lineup.

Brad Ziegler, yet another right-hander, who was acquired from Arizona, had 18 saves in the Diamondbacks bullpen prior to becoming a Red Sox reliever.

Farrell said following the game that since the team has had to go to different players to set up, the team would now look to do that more. He added that he did not know the amount of time Koji would miss.

Farrell said Taz would return to the active list soon, Brad is there, referring to Ziegler and Koji may not be down that long.

Boston is currently in a three-team battle for first place in the American League East. The Red Sox are in second place a half game behind first place Baltimore and 1 game ahead of third place Toronto.

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