BOSTON -- Reporters covering the Red Sox got a glimpse in Baltimore of Koji Uehara's workout routine after he pitches, since the workout area is in a room outside the visitors’ clubhouse, right where reporters wait before being allowed entry.
Uehara, just a few minutes after finishing his inning of work, walked briskly into the workout room and grabbed a balance ball, which he placed between his back and a wall as he began a rapid series of squats while holding a weighted ball. He then performed a series of lunges and did some other cardio and core work.
“I haven’t seen it,’’ fellow reliever Chris Capuano said. “Maybe there’s a secret to the fountain of youth there.
“Relievers have to pick their spots when they get their workouts in. It makes sense that he does it after he pitches, when he’s hot and warm and wants to get a little work in. If I had to guess, he’s not lifting real heavy weights, not trying to build muscle, build strength. He’s just firing those muscles, keeping them strong.’’
Capuano had never seen Uehara pitch in a game before this week, except on TV.
“Really impressed," he said. “Does he look 39? Absolutely not. He looks more like he’s 29 years old.’’
Capuano, who had pitched exclusively for National League teams (Diamondbacks, Brewers, Mets and Dodgers) before coming to Boston, was asked if he could recall a pitcher with a splitter comparable to Uehara’s.
“Off the top of my head, I can’t,’’ Capuano said. “There are guys with good changeups and stuff, but I haven’t seen one like that.
He just has pinpoint command. His fastball has great late movement on it. He’s able to pinpoint it, keep the ball down.’’
Capuano, a native of West Springfield, Mass., made his Sox debut Thursday night in a role foreign to him: He pitched a scoreless seventh inning out of the pen. He has been a starter his entire big-league career, which began in 2003 with the Diamondbacks.
“The bullpen is difficult for me mentally to figure out how to handle on a daily basis,’’ Capuano said. “How to stay ready for someone in my role, who is available if a starter needs help early or late, like [Thursday night]. The mental side of it is kind of grinding compared to a starter, where you have a set routine every day.
“So that part of it I’m still learning how to handle. I’m kind of leaning on my other buddies in the pen to show me that.’’
And how did he feel wearing the uniform he used to cheer as a child?
“It felt great,’’ Capuano said. “Unbelievable. A lot of pride when I put it on.’’
Capuano said he had a relatively small contingent at Friday’s home opener.
“My parents, my wife and her friend, that’s about it.’’