Red Sox diehards might’ve been feeling understandably slighted that only their unquestioned ace Jon Lester was selected to the All-Star game this year, but due mostly to the unfortunate timing of Yankees phenomenon Masahiro Tanaka‘s injury, Koji Uehara will take the field to represent the AL as well.
As reported by NESN and confirmed by the MLB’s official Twitter page, the Yankees sent Tanaka to the 15-day disabled list with an elbow injury that potentially might knock the wunderkind out for 6 weeks or more if surgery is required. That cleared a pitching spot on the All-Star squad for Mr. High Five City, who’s making his first-ever MLB All-Star appearance.
Koji’s lights-out dominance last postseason doesn’t need any re-telling, but his stats this season are impressive in spite of the Red Sox getting comfortable at the bottom of the AL East. Uehara’s racked up 18 saves and 52 strikeouts so far, compared to only 6 walks, and is rocking a pint-sized 1.30 ERA.
This is Koji’s first apearance in the MLB All-Star game, but he’s no stranger to the title. In 10 seasons with the Yomiuri Giants of the Nippon Professional Baseball league, he was selected as an all-star a whopping 8 times.
It’s great to see Uehara finally get some recognition for his performance; it’s just too bad David Ortiz won’t be there to throw him over his shoulder after the last out this time.