© 2012 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
02/19/12 3:01 PM EST
Uehara in limbo as Texas camp approaches
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Pitcher Koji Uehara had a question for reporters standing outside the Rangers clubhouse at their Spring Training facility on Sunday morning.
"You have any information?" Uehara asked through his translator.
Not much. It is known that the Rangers are talking to other clubs about Uehara. It is known that the Athletics, Orioles and other clubs have significant interest, and Texas is looking for multiple prospects in return.
But as of Sunday morning, Uehara was still with the Rangers and working out on the back fields at camp. He is one of a number of players who have shown up early to work out. Pitchers and catchers officially report on Wednesday, and Uehara wants to know if he'll still be here or not.
"Mentally, I'm not settled down yet," Uehara said before his morning workout. "We'll see what happens."
He could have spent Spring Training in Florida. The Rangers had a deal worked out with the Blue Jays but Uehara blocked it. The Blue Jays are one of six teams he can block a trade to, and Uehara did not want to go to Toronto.
"The weather is an issue," Uehara said. "I also know how hard it is to compete in that division."
His family still lives in Baltimore. The Rangers acquired Uehara on July 31 last season from the Orioles and he wouldn't mind being traded back there. But the two sides have not been able to agree on a deal.
Uehara is signed this year for $4 million. If the Rangers traded him, it might free up salary space for them to sign left-handed reliever Michael Gonzalez. Or the Rangers may stay with what they have and hold on to the payroll flexibility for a later date.
But Uehara wouldn't mind staying in Texas if he is not traded.
"I love this team and they have great personnel," Uehara said. "That is a motivating factor."
Uehara pitched in 22 games for the Rangers and was 1-2 with a 4.00 ERA. He did surrender five home runs in 18 innings and had more problems with that in the playoffs. He made three appearances in the first two rounds of the postseason and gave up three more homers.
"The only time I struggled was in the playoffs," Uehara said. "I'm not too concerned about trying to prove myself."
Uehara, who was 1-1 with a 1.72 ERA in 43 games for the Orioles, was also left off the World Series roster.
"It's in the past," Uehara said. "I don't look back."
He prefers to look ahead, but that's hard to do right now when he is being prominently mentioned in trade discussions.
"The emotional and mental part is important when you are playing baseball," Uehara said. "It would be great if I could get this over with."