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Uehara aims to keep closer’s job

Kyodo News

Baltimore Orioles pitcher Koji Uehara is not ready to lose the closer’s role to newly acquired Kevin Gregg, who racked up a career-high 37 saves for the Toronto Blue Jays last season.

“I’ll try to win the closer’s job,” Uehara said Saturday in Tokyo about two weeks before the voluntary spring training reporting date for pitchers and catchers on Feb. 14.

Last year, Uehara became the Orioles’ closer in late August and converted 13 of his 15 save opportunities.

But his closer status is now in question after the Orioles signed free agent right-hander Gregg to a two-year contract earlier this month.

“I feel a sense of urgency and at the same time I’m excited to face competition,” Uehara said.