After some very long weeks of waiting and watching as Koji Uehara tried to work himself back into condition for the 2007 season, the Kyojin ace took the mound in a relief appearance for his season debut. Hamstring problems plagued the 32-year old star pitcher throughout the spring sessions and it was only recently that he was even able to throw off the bullpen mound. Recently, Uehara was back with his teammates doing calisthenics and it appeared that we would see him back with the team, in live game action before too long. I never expected to see the veteran debut out of the pen, but it made a lot of sense given the lack of a decent Japanese minor league system for veterans to warm up with a few tests before coming back from injury.
The line was not that impressive as Uehara entered the 9th inning of a 9-2 game versus Yakult on April 30th. His final pitching line was 1 inning, 16 pitches, 2 hits, no walks, 1 earned run, and a strikeout. The hits were both ringing doubles off the bats of pinch hitter Yasushi Iihara and third baseman Hirobumi Watarai. The strikeout was at the expense of leadoff man Aaron Guiel. All in all, it's great to see the Giants' ace back in action. The team is off to a fast start without him with a trio of excellent left handed starters taking control. The pressure to perform immediately has been greatly lessened by the team's success out of the gate, and we'll be looking forward to a starting performance in the very near future. Keep your eyes on the blog for the remainder of the season as we gear up for the final campaign of Koji Uehara in Japan.