NEW YORK — Koji Uehara will not be available to the Red Sox on Saturday and may soon be sent back to Boston to have his sore right shoulder examined.
The closer felt stiffness in his shoulder during a pre-game throwing session on Friday and did not pitch the ninth inning of the game. Edward Mujica finished off a 4-2 victory against the Yankees.
“We haven’t gotten to the point of any roster move with him. We’re still gathering the information. We’ll look to put him through a little bit of a throwing program [Sunday]. That’s the next step,” manager John Farrell said on Saturday. “Right now still unavailable.”
Farrell said the Red Sox have “complete confidence” in Mujica, who saved 37 games for the Cardinals last season.
But the loss of Uehara, for even a short time, would be significant given that he has been close to perfect as a closer. In his last 55 games, counting the postseason, Uehara has allowed two earned runs over 59 innings with two walks and 75 strikeouts.
In five games this season, Uehara has thrown five shutout innings, allowing three hits without a walk while striking out seven.
When he played for Texas in 2012, Uehara was on the disabled list with a strained lat muscle behind his shoulder from June 10 to Aug. 25. On Friday, he described the pain as being in the same area.
“Any time you’ve got a pitcher unavailable there’s immediate concern,” Farrell said. “We’re also getting to know Koji. This is the first time we’ve had to deal with him being unavailable. We’ve got to respect how he reacts to the discomfort that’s there, the tightness that’s there.
“We also know that when he was in Texas there was a setback during the time that he was on the DL. To say that this is a direct comparison to two years ago is probably a little bit too early. But we’ll take every precaution to get him back fully when he’s able to return.”
The throwing session on Sunday is expected to include Uehara’s usual routine of playing catch from 200 feet.
The Sox are off on Monday before starting a three-game series against the White Sox in Chicago.
“It’s another day available to us,” Farrell said. “Based on the information we get tomorrow, it gives us the possibility of him returning to Boston to be checked out. That’s not set in stone yet but it’s a possibility. We’re still gathering information along the way.”
On Friday, Uehara said he didn’t think the injury was serious. That did not change overnight, according to Farrell.