Uehara Cranks It Up as Crafty Closer

Eric D. Schabell
Contributing Writer

Rest easy Red Sox Nation.

The High Five City is alive and well down in Spring Training.

Koji Uehara threw the very last pitch to record the last out in the 2013 World Series.

Yesterday he was back on the mound for his first start in Spring Training against the Pirates.

Nothing has changed.

Uehara threw 14 pitches, 10 for strikes, struck out two in a perfect 1-2-3 pitching clinic that continued where he left off in 2013.

"I'm surprised he threw four balls," joked right-hander Brandon Workman.

Originally the plan was to rest Uehara and setup man Junichi Tazawa until later in the spring because of their workload during the postseason. But both Japanese righties made their debuts on Monday. Tazawa worked around one hit in his scoreless inning.

What made manager John Farrell change his mind?

Both of the Japanese pitchers wanted to get some time against the National League teams that they are facing now in the Spring.

"They're going to have ample rest in between their outings," Farrell said. "We still target roughly seven outings in Spring Training for both of them."

Time to dust off and wash your Koji Uehara jersey, High Five City is back in town.

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