Koji Uehara named to All-Star team in place of Masahiro Tanaka

July 09, 2014 - 4:59 pm

With Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka unavailable to pitch in the All-Star Game due to elbow inflammation, Red Sox closer Koji Uehara has been added to the American League roster for the showcase. Uehara is making the All-Star team for the first time. Here is the Red Sox press release announcing Uehara's addition:

Red Sox right-handed pitcher Koji Uehara was added to the active American League roster for Major League Baseball'€™s 85th All-Star Game, which will take place on Tuesday, July 15 at Target Field in Minneapolis, MN.  He replaces right-handed pitcher Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees, who was placed on the disabled list today.

Major League Baseball and Red Sox Manager John Farrell, who is guiding the American League All-Star team, made the announcement.

This is the first major league All-Star selection for Uehara, 39, who was an All-Star for the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball eight times (1999-2005, 2007).

The Red Sox'€™ closer is 4-2 with 18 saves this season.  He owns a 1.30 ERA (6 ER/41.2 IP) and 52 strikeouts compared just six walks and 25 hits allowed.  Entering today, he ranked among AL relievers in save percentage (2nd, 94.7), WHIP (2nd, 0.74), ERA (3rd, 1.30), strikeout/walk ratio (3rd, 8.7), wins (T-3rd), saves (5th), walk rate (6th, 1.3 BB/9.0 IP), and strikeouts (T-6th, 52).

In the 2013 regular season, Uehara notched 21 saves and went 4-1 with a 1.09 ERA (9 ER/74.1 IP).  With only 33 hits and seven walks allowed, he posted the best single-season WHIP in major league history among pitchers with at least 40.0 innings (0.57).  He also became the first major leaguer ever with at least 100 strikeouts (101) and fewer than 10 walks allowed (9) in a season, and set an AL record for scoreless appearances with 44.

Uehara recorded saves in all seven chances during the Red Sox'€™ postseason run to the 2013 World Series Championship and was named MVP of the American League Championship Series.

Only five other first-time MLB All-Stars have been older than Uehara: Satchel Paige (46 in 1952), Tim Wakefield (42 in 2009), Arthur Rhodes (40 in 2010), Jamie Moyer (40 in 2003), and Connie Marrero (40 in 1951).

In 113 appearances since joining the Red Sox in 2013, Uehara is 8-3 with 39 saves, a 1.16 ERA, with 153 strikeouts and just 15 walks in 116.0 innings.

Over parts of six seasons in the big leagues with the Orioles (2009-11), Rangers (2011-12), and Red Sox (2013-14), Uehara has gone 13-12 with 53 saves and a 2.28 ERA (83 ER/327.2 IP) in 270 outings, including 12 starts.  With just 44 walks allowed and 384 career strikeouts, he owns the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in major league history among pitchers with at least 100.0 lifetime innings.

Among those representing the Red Sox, Uehara will join teammate Jon Lester, as well as Farrell and his coaching staff, at the Midsummer Classic.