Rangers reliever Koji Uehara wants to be back with Orioles

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Koji Uehara struggled following a midseason trade to the Rangers and was left off the World Series roster, and now Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com reports that the reliever wants to return to the Orioles next year:

I continue to believe that Koji Uehara will find a way back to the Orioles. … It’s hard to not feel for the guy, particularly because I remember him blinking back tears when he was traded while the team was in New York. … Uehara still owns a home in the area and has talked with people close to him about wanting to return.

Uehara was brilliant in Baltimore and the Orioles would no doubt be open to him returning, but the problem is that he’s under contract for $4 million in 2012 and the Rangers traded for him in part because they wanted the bullpen help for next season. And even while serving up homers in bunches for the Rangers he posted an excellent 24/3 K/BB ratio in 19 innings, so he could have a big role in Texas if given an extended opportunity.

Brandon Belt, Jaime Barrios set new modern record with 21-pitch at-bat

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Angels starter Jaime Barrios and Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record with a 21-pitch at-bat in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Anaheim. Belt fell behind 1-2 and mostly kept fouling pitches off. The count ran full on the ninth pitch and Belt would foul off 11 more pitches before finally lining out to right field.

As Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle notes, the previous record was set on June 26, 1998 when the Indians’ Bartolo Colon and the Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez battled for 20 pitches. Gutierrez eventually struck out.