Uehara stands out in seventh-inning role

Uehara stands out in seventh-inning role

Uehara stands out in seventh-inning role
ANAHEIM -- Koji Uehara has better numbers in September than he did in August and is starting to lock down the seventh inning for the Rangers.

Uehara, after being acquired from the Orioles on July 30, had a 6.52 ERA in August with opponents hitting .265 off him. They are hitting .048 and he has a 1.42 ERA in September. In 6 1/3 innings, he has allowed one hit, no walks and struck out 11.

"In August, I didn't have my rhythm," Uehara said. "I'm back in rhythm and feel good. I also had some physical fatigue in August but that is gone now. You can see the results."

Manager Ron Washington said he was never too concerned about Uehara and still trusts him to pitch the seventh inning.

"He has been throwing very well," Washington said. "We all have periods where things don't go our way. He's no different. He had a couple of bad games and he has found his groove again."

Washington has the bullpen set up where Uehara pitches the seventh inning, Mike Adams has the eighth and Neftali Feliz closes in the ninth. Left-handers Darren Oliver and Michael Gonzalez are used whenever needed.

The Rangers are still weighing the possibility of going either with seven or eight relievers in the bullpen for the playoffs. Seven relievers means the Rangers carry Matt Treanor as the third catcher.