Uehara shows what he can bring to stretch run

Red Sox's 41-year-old reliever returns to mound with flourish

Uehara shows what he can bring to stretch run

SAN DIEGO -- And on the 50th day, Koji Uehara finally pitched again. Back from a strained right pectoral muscle that had sidelined him since July 20, the 41-year-old reliever wasted no time in demonstrating what kind of weapon he can be for the Red Sox down the stretch.

Uehara pitched the eighth inning of Wednesday's 7-2 victory over the Padres, and struck out two of the three batters he faced. In his 1-2-3 inning, Uehara threw 13 pitches, 11 of them for strikes.

This, with no Minor League rehab appearances.

"It's impressive to have that long of a layoff without game action and he comes in and throws the number of strikes that he does," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "Still, the deception is there with the swing-and-miss to the fastball, even though the arm strength isn't all the way back yet. More importantly, it's good to see Koji back in action."

The one glaring weakness for the Red Sox in recent weeks has been setup relief.

Uehara hopes to help change that narrative for the Red Sox, who lead the Blue Jays by one game in the American League East with 23 games left in the regular season.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.