Cubs reliever Koji Uehara told reporters on Tuesday that after spending 10 seasons as a pro in Japan, he hopes to pitch a total of 10 years in America as well (via Paul Skrbina of the Chicago Tribune). That’d mean another two years for Uehara in the Majors, as he’s currently spent the past eight seasons pitching in Major League Baseball. Considering Uehara’s recent track record, there’s little reason to consider that goal unrealistic. While the 2016 season was a down year by his standards, Uehara still managed a 3.45 ERA with 12.1 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9 across 47 innings with the Red Sox. It should be noted that the 41-year-old Uehara (42 in April) didn’t expressly rule out pitching beyond a 10th Major League season.
Elsewhere in the NL Central…
- Jedd Gyorko isn’t certain where he’ll be playing on a day to day basis in 2017, but Cardinals manager Mike Matheny tells Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the slugging utility infielder will have the opportunity to pick up plenty of at-bats. “I think right now it’s compete for lots of playing time,” said the skipper. “So we’re still in that same mode, and we’ll decide when we break with our club what roles look like.” Gyorko, who started 25+ games at second base, shortstop and third base last year, tells Goold that he dropped some weight in an effort to improve his range and increase the value of his newfound versatility. He also notes that so long as the Cardinals are winning, his own placement on the diamond/in the lineup is secondary. “I could be selfish and demand that I play every day and if I don’t then say I want to be traded,” says Gyorko. “That’s not who I am. That’s not who I want to be.” Gyorko will compete with Jhonny Peralta for at-bats at third base and can also play each other infield slot.
- Bronson Arroyo and Devin Mesoraco appeared in an intrasquad game for the Reds on Tuesday, writes MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon. While Arroyo’s velocity in his one-inning, 15-pitch outing was around 83 mph, the 40-year-old is a bit behind after missing a week due to a stomach virus. Arroyo said he’s relieved, as his arm was already in “severe pain” around this stage last season (when a shoulder injury cut his spring short). His next outing will be a two-inning stint in a Cactus League game, per Sheldon, while manager Bryan Price said that Mesoraco could be in a Cactus League lineup by Sunday. Mesoraco admitted to feeling a bit rusty from a baseball standpoint but said that he felt good from a health perspective.