If you’ve been wondering why most of Baltimore’s best relief pitchers haven’t thrown in a game, the answer has become readily apparent. Manager Dave Trembley said Saturday that he’s tried to get George Sherrill, Dennis Sarfate, Jim Johnson and Jamie Walker extra work on the practice mound, thus pushing back their timetable to pitch in games.
“With the extra week of spring training, all those guys we’ve held back,” he said. “They’ve gotten their work in the back throwing simulated games or batting practice sessions.”
Trembley was also asked to clarify his late relief picture on Saturday, and he reiterated that Sherrill is his closer and that Chris Ray will still get scattered save opportunities.
“I didn’t want Chris Ray to think he was coming into camp and it was a tryout,” he said. “I told George he was the closer on the team but he was not going to get every save opportunity. I did it for both guys. I didn’t want Sherrill to come in here and think he had to hurry up and get out there, and I didn’t want Chris Ray wondering what his role on the club was going to be.”
Koji Uehara stood still and met with the Baltimore beat crew for the first time at Spring Training Saturday, holding court outside the home clubhouse at Fort Lauderdale Stadium with translator Jiwon Bang. Uehara, who had a wrap on his right shoulder, has made a habit of holding his daily briefing with the Japanese media as he walks to the parking lot.
Uehara has said that he expects the American press coverage to be a little less strenuous that it has been in his homeland, and he repeated that assertion on Saturday. The right-hander has a chart in his locker with mug shots and last names so he can get to know his teammates better, a new challenge after spending his whole career with the Yomiuri Giants.
At one point, Uehara even moved beyond the typical stock Spring Training interview to give a glimpse at his sense of humor. The veteran relayed that he has a deal with Jamie Walker to teach one word a day to each other in their respective languages — English and Japanese.
When one reporter expressed concern that Walker might be teaching him the wrong words — curses and invective alike — Uehara chuckled and agreed.
“Only good words,” he said via Bang. “I’ll be careful, but I need to learn [the bad words] too.”