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SARASOTA, Fla. (Kyodo) Baltimore Orioles right-hander Koji Uehara was set to get under way in his first official workout of Spring Training on Monday as pitchers and catchers of 11 clubs take to the field to leave the vestiges of winter behind them.

Uehara, who fell into the closer’s role at the end of the 2010 season and posted 13 saves, has been put on alert in a tug-of-war for the same position after the addition of former Toronto Blue Jays reliever Kevin Gregg, who recorded 37 saves last season.

“I got a lot of time in the bullpen while I was back in Japan. My elbow feels good and my body overall is in good condition,” Uehara said the day before Monday’s practice.

The 35-year-old Osaka native, who started last season on the disabled list with a left hamstring injury, did some sprints along the outfield fence and stretched out his arm with some long tosses.

“Since I’m in good form, I want to be extra careful (not to hurt anything),” said Uehara, who enters his third year in the majors. “It’s my goal to be assigned the closer’s role for the entire year,” he said.

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