MINNEAPOLIS -- Koji Uehara’s son, Kazuma, toyed with his father’s cell phone, tugged at his shirt and continued to distract him as Uehara answered questions about his future.
But not even Kaz, who became well known for shadowing his father during Boston’s World Series run last season, would pull Uehara away from this moment.
“In Japan, this would not be possible,” Uehara said. “Bringing your family, kids to the All-Star Game, it’s certainly been fun.”
Uehara, 39, isn’t unfamiliar to the spotlight as he was an eight-time All-Star in Japan for the Yomiuri Giants, but this is his first trip to the American game in his six major league seasons. With a 1.65 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 43 2/3 innings, the reliever was named to the AL team as a replacement for the injured Masahiro Tanaka.
But while the Red Sox (43-52) remain at the bottom of the AL East, Uehara has even more distractions as his name has been thrown around in trade rumors as an option for the Sox to sell high -- he’s got 39 saves in 44 chances across the previous two seasons.
Uehara saw this movie before, when the struggling Baltimore Orioles (36-52 at the time) sent him to Texas in a trade in 2011.
“I think I can keep myself in a calm situation because I had that experience three years ago,” Uehara said.
Texas tried to trade Uehara the following year, but Uehara invoked his no-trade clause. This time around, Uehara is a potential free agent at the end of the season and Boston could look to move him instead of letting him walk.
“I certainly would love to continue my career with the Red Sox,” Uehara said. “But it’s really not up to me. We’ll see.”