Orioles' Sherrill on Koji
Orioles reliever George Sherrill (right) has some experience playing alongside Japanese players from his time playing with Ichiro Suzuki and Kenji Johjima with the Seattle Mariners, and told Jeff Zrebiec that the arrival of Koji Uehara and his contingent of foreign media will add some excitement to spring training and the regular season.
"It’s going to have like a New York road clubhouse type of feel to it,'' Sherrill said. "I think it’s good that we’ll have spring training. Once that’s done and the season starts, you’ll be used to it, and it will be out of your mind and you will not think a second thought.
"Obviously [Uehara] doesn’t have the star following that Ichiro does, but just because [Japanese players] are so few and far between here, [the media] does follow them pretty heavy. He’ll have his little following. We had an interpreter for Johjima and for Ichiro as well and all the reporters that come through. But all in all, it wasn’t bad. It’s something you get used to. After a while, it’s like they're not even there."
Sherrill said that Uehara will fit in very quickly with the Orioles. There is a language barrier, of course, but the Japanese and American players get along well because they have baseball in common.
"They are accepted right away because they are part of the team, part of the family. It gets a little taxing at times talking through an interpreter, going back and forth. But having Ichiro and Johjiuma as teammates was incredible. Both of them are really good ball players and really good people. I didn’t learn a lot of Japanese words, but it was fun getting to know them."
Associated Press photo