Red Sox ready to use Koji Uehara again, but not as closer

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After briefly shutting down Koji Uehara the Red Sox are ready to use the 39-year-old reliever again, although it won’t be in the closer role.

Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Uehara will be available out of the bullpen Thursday and “will pitch in lower leverage situations upon his return with the expectation he will be reinstalled as the closer before the season ends.”

There isn’t a whole lot of time left for Uehara to get in work as a middle reliever and then pitch well enough to reclaim the closer gig, especially considering how much he struggled leading up to the shut down.

Uehara was more or less duplicating his amazing 2013 season with a 1.27 ERA and 70/7 K/BB ratio in 57 innings through August 15 this year, but since then he’s allowed 10 runs in 4.2 innings for a 19.29 ERA. If he has any problems in the low-leverage role it’s hard to imagine why the Red Sox wouldn’t just end his season early.