Here’s a shocker: Koji has “elbow fatigue”

June 24, 2009 | Drew Forrester

I can’t figure it out but maybe someone smarter than me can.

How can a guy with 12 starts — and only four outings where he’s worked into the 7th inning — be hurting?

Such is apparently the case with O’s starter Koji Uehara.  Manager Dave Trembley revealed prior to this evening’s game in Florida that Koji is suffering from “elbow fatigue”.

Welcome to the “Fatigue Club”, Koji.  The fans here have been suffering from Losing Fatigue since 1998.

Seriously – what’s the deal with this guy?  Can’t Trembley make a command decision and tell MacPhail he wants another starter?  Let Uehara slip into the bullpen and bring up one of the kids from Norfolk.  

Elbow fatigue.  Sheesh. 

Because we’re not really allowed to ask the team any pressing questions, this one will go unanswered.  But I’ll ask it anyway.

Did the club make an agreement with Uehara – written, oral or handshake – that obligated the Birds to use Koji only as a starter?  

If so, they’re in deep doo-doo.

If they did, they’re nuts. 

Then again, this was supposedly an answer to the O’s starting pitching woes.  Or, one of them, anyway.  Rather than pick up a quality major-league starter or two, we brought in the Japanese pitcher with a wobbly elbow, Mark Hendrickson, and our own answer to Major League’s Rick Vaughn, Rich Hill.  

I actually like Uehara as a pitcher.  He’s crafty (I know, that’s sort of code word for: not very dominating…but I like him) and for three or four innings every start, he’s actually tough to hit.  Then, the 6th inning comes and he starts breaking out in hives once he reaches the 80 pitch mark.  By the 90-pitch mark, he’s done.

If Major League games were six innings, this kid would be a Hall of Famer. 

So, back to the question I’ve asked a dozen times on the show.  “Why not move Koji to the bullpen?”

What’s the harm?

“Elbow fatigue.”

“Might miss his next start.”

“We’ll keep our eye on it.”

How do you say, “Rub some dirt on it, kid” in Japanese?