Potentially troubling news for the Red Sox, as Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that closer Koji Uehara is dealing with right shoulder tightness.
It was obvious something was amiss when Edward Mujica — not Uehara — warmed up in the bullpen in the top of the ninth inning last night and ended up closing out a victory over the Yankees. Uehara told reporters after the game that he felt tightness in his shoulder during pregame activities.
“Just tightness before the game playing catch,” Uehara said through an interpreter. “It’s difficult to explain, but just tightness. Two years ago, when I was with Texas, I felt the same kind of tightness.”
Uehara ended up missing two months with a lat strain in 2012, so the Red Sox aren’t going to take any chances here. The plan calls for him to test his shoulder by long tossing tomorrow, but Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com reports that he could return to Boston for an examination if the issue lingers. Mujica will continue to fill in at closer for now.
Uehara, 39, threw 88 innings last season between the regular season and the playoffs. His previous high in MLB was 66 2/3 innings during his first season stateside in 2009 as a member of the Orioles.
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.