Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa have both been active this offseason, touring their native Japan while making appearances with the 2013 World Series trophy. The pair of Boston Red Sox relievers have made multiple stops on their tour, meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (during which they gave him a Red Sox jersey) and a visit on Tuesday with the U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy.
Masanori Murakami, the first Japanese player to play in the Major Leagues, and Hideki Matsui, former New York Yankee and the 2009 World Series MVP, were both reportedly in attendance for Tuesday’s event, according to Jim Armstrong at Boston.com.
Uehara and Tazawa were both vital pieces to the team’s bullpen in 2013 and through their playoff run. Tazawa totaled just 7.1 IP in the playoffs, picking up a win in the ALCS while allowing just one run. Uehara was even more dominant, pitching 13.2 IP without allowing a run after the ALDS. He’d save seven of the team’s playoff wins, including throwing a perfect ninth inning in the series clincher against St. Louis. Combined the two players allowed just four baserunners during the World Series (3 H, 1 BB).
Both will return to their respective roles for 2014 in what should be a deep Boston bullpen.