Boston Red Sox closer Koji Uehara hasn’t pitched since March 14. He is still suffering from a hamstring injury he suffered this spring.
Uehara, who turns 40 years old on April 3, signed a two-year, 18 million contract to remain with Boston after the 2014 season.
He’s collected 47 saves for the Red Sox over the past two seasons while posting a 1.75 ERA and was a member of the 2014 American League All-Star team.
The Red Sox are planning to have Uehara throwing off flat ground this week and are hoping to have him throw a bullpen session over the weekend. Still, time is running out and Uehara has only pitched three innings so far this spring.
Manager John Farrell admitted that Uehara may not be ready for the season opener,
“With each passing day that he’s not in a game, there’s growing concern in the sense of, ‘Will he be ready for April 6?’ We’re just working through that,” Farrell said. “Three games next week would give him six appearances in spring training. Is that enough? We just have to evaluate the stuff once he gets back in games.”
If Uehara does end up starting the season on the disabled list, the team can make his 15 days on the DL retroactive to March 27. This means that he would likely only miss Boston’s first series of the season.
The top candidate to fill-in during Uehara’s, still potential yet likely, absence is Edward Mujica. Mujica has nine years of big league experience where he’s jumped around from team to team.
He was an All-Star in 2013 with the St. Louis Cardinals 37 games for the team that year. He has a total of 49 career saves.