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February 27, 2009

Orioles: Zaun on Koji

Catcher Gregg Zaun liked what he saw of Koji Uehara today, and he had the best view of anybody.

"It was pretty impressive," Zaun said. "Fastballs to both sides of the plate, split finger was there, ahead or behind on the count. He commanded both sides to both hitters, righty and lefty. It looks like he's pretty quick to the plate, so he's going to control the running game as well."

Zaun said the command was nice to see, but he also was impressed with Uehara's demeanor on the mound.

"I expected him to have good command," Zaun said, "but I also saw a bit of the competitive fire in him. He gave up that line-drive out to [John] Baker, and the next pitch he reared back and he cut it loose. You could see there was some fire there. He wasn't really happy with giving up that hard-hit ball."

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 3:13 PM | | Comments (15)
Categories: Just baseball


I expected this from Koji from the beginning.

When was the last time an Oriole pitcher had competitive fire?

When was the last time an Oriole pitcher had competitive fire?

Nice start by Koji. He seems like a nice guy that wants to prove he belongs in the Majors. I am glad he's an Oriole.

Pete, how did Penn look?

Pete's reply: He pitched two scoreless today. He'll take that and so will the O's.

sounds good, i read the box score before i read this, impressive numbers (for 2 innings of his first start in spring ball)

Pete; Penn put up a good line today. How did he look? Arrieta and Perez too for that matter.

Pete's reply: Arrieta looked very good. i was interviewing somebody while Perez pitched, so I didn't see him.

Koji does have a sense of humor. During warmups down the rightfield line, prior to the game, he threw one past the catcher that Melvin Mora scooped up down in front of the dugout. As Mora looked up to return the ball, Koji bowed and tipped his cap with a big grin on his face. He looked good. Penn looked pretty good and Perez did well, although Perez was pitching to minor league players.

Today, folks, we saw the real ace of the Orioles rotation on the mound and don't forget it!

I'm glad Penn's hanging in there. I'd hate to see him waived at the end of ST. Plus walks are going to have to kept to a minimum going against the AL East rotations.

Two innings an ace pitcher does not make...

I'm getting so excited with our pitching potential that I can't wait for the season to begin. Lordy! Can we come out of nowhere this year and pitch our way into the post season or is this, sigh, just a Spring Training Tease? I'm going with the former!!

how has kenshin kawakami done on the mound? wasn't he supposed to be the superior to koji?


You're absolutely right, two innings does not a ace pitcher make; however I wasn't talking about that, as it was a given that he'd pitch well against the Marlins.

I'm just reminding everyone who has annointed Jeremy Guthrie staff ace to wake up. Don't get me wrong, I really like Guthrie, but a reality check is in order.

It shows that his record is only 17-17 as a starter in two seasons with the club. Granted, we all know he pitched much better than that and was let down by his bullpen too many times to count.

We know he's a quality pitcher, an All-Star caliber starter, but what Koji has that Jeremy doesn't have is an established track record of greatness: Rookie of the Year Award, two Sawamura Awards (Japanese equivalent of the Cy Young Award) and eight All-Star appearances.

And yes, for any Doubting Thomas out there, he's proven he can go head-to-head with big league hitters and come out on top. No fear!

Want proof? Check out the following video clip and you'll see what I mean (cut to the chase by starting at .41). Here he strikes out Jason Giambi twice and Barry Bonds three times, and all five strikeouts are swinging. He schooled two of the best the majors had to offer (both left hand hitters, I might add), and made them look overmatched and foolish.

Can he pitch deep into games? Well, he's had as many as 12 complete games in a year and 56 for his career. He's not likely to finish too many games with Dave Trembley as skipper, but if he can consistently work into the seventh inning, that's going make the whole staff better by saving the bullepen for other starters.

Sure he had an off year in 2008, but that was due to an injury. Ask anyone who's seen him so far this year and they'll tell you he's throwing the ball exceptionally well. Amazingly, he came to camp without any rust, proving he's highly dedicated to his craft.

Yesterday, he pitched to live hitters and pretty much dominated with just two pitches (yes, most of them are going to end up in the minors, but that didn't stop them from lighting up Mark Hendrickson!).

Guthrie certainly deserves to start for the Orioles on Opening Day, no question, but as the season Koji should emerge as the main man. Then, again, maybe this is Jeremy's breakthrough season, but that should only make Uehara better, because he'll love the friendly competition. Maybe dual aces. It's a win-win situation for the O's.

And if Rich Hill finds himself again, this could be a very good front of the rotation--who'd have thought at the end of last season that the team would have decent starters beyond Guthrie in 2009?

so you think a guy who most major league teams see as a reliever is an ace after two innings in spring training? Guts is what he is and might not be an ace on a team with a top pitching staff but has proven he can pitch in the major leagues successfully. To say Koji IS an ace, even on this team, based on what little we have seen? SIlly IMO

Pete's response to an earlier commentor's question - "I was interviewing "somebody" when Perez pitched and didn't get to see him ". Translation , Pete was flirting with a cutie ;)

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Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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