Red Sox closer Koji Uehara has not looked sharp this spring in the Grapefruit League, yielding seven hits and two earned runs in three innings. And now he’s going to have a little less time to iron things out.
As first reported by WEEI’s Rob Bradford, Uehara suffered a strained right hamstring while doing some conditioning Tuesday in Red Sox camp. It’s considered a mild strain and Uehara should be fully recovered by the beginning of the regular season, but he probably won’t be able to make another Grapefruit League appearance until late next week.
Uehara surrendered 10 earned runs over his final 7 2/3 innings last season and he turns 40 years old on April 3. If it all comes crashing down this season for the veteran right-hander, Edward Mujica or Junichi Tazawa could move into Boston’s ninth-inning role. But let’s not freak out just yet.
Phillies manager Joe Girardi told reporters today that Andrew McCutchen will not be ready to play to start the season. McCutchen is still recovering from the ACL tear he suffered last year. Girardi said that McCutchen hasn’t suffered a setback, but is simply not on a timetable that would allow him to play on Opening Day.
Obviously, this is a bit of a blow for the Phillies. McCutchen isn’t the MVP-level player he once ways, but he’s still a difference-maker and can be a spark plug for an offense. He was off to a .256/.378/.457 start in his 262 plate appearances before the injury struck. His continued stint on the injured list opens up everyday at-bats for Jay Bruce, whom the Phillies traded for during the 2019 season to help fill the hole caused by McCutchen’s injury. Bruce moving up the depth chart opens up a roster spot for someone like Neil Walker, Nick Martini or Kyle Garlick to make the team.
Girardi said that the Phillies expect McCutchen back at some point in April, so he hopefully won’t be on the shelf too much longer. Still, it stinks that we’re going to have wait longer for one of the more fun players in baseball to suit up again.