Koji Uehara triggers $4.25 million vesting option for 2014

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Red Sox right-hander Koji Uehara made the single most lucrative relief appearance of his career in Tuesday night’s 4-2 victory over the Blue Jays.

Sitting on 54 relief appearances for the season and needing a total of 55 appearances to trigger a $4.25 million vesting option for 2014, Uehara entered in the bottom of the 10th inning with two outs on the board and the score tied 2-2. He struck out the only batter he faced — Jose Reyes — and then after the Red Sox rallied for two tallies in the top of the 11th the native of Neyawaga, Japan came back with a perfect closing frame to secure Boston’s 72nd win of 2013.

It was an impressive effort from a guy who has been impressive all season. Uehara, a big free agent bargain this past winter, now boasts a 1.32 ERA, 0.68 WHIP and 75/9 K/BB ratio in 54 2/3 innings with Boston.

Uehara can bump that vesting option to $5 million if he finishes 35 games. He has finished 24 so far.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.