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Saturday, July 30, 2011
Rangers look to Uehara for relief

Koji Uehara
With the acquisition of reliever Koji Uehara from the Orioles Saturday afternoon, the Rangers are the latest team to wheel and deal before the trade deadline.

The Rangers had to give up a lot (Tommy Hunter and Chris Davis) to land Uehara, but the deal should definitely help them improve a floundering bullpen.

Entering Saturday, the Rangers’ relief corps was in the bottom five among American League teams in ERA, opponents' batting average, save percentage and strikeouts per nine IP.

At the minimum, Uehara should help the strikeout numbers.

He is averaging 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings pitched (fifth-best among AL relievers), and his 62 strikeouts are second-most among AL relievers.

Uehara also doesn't walk many hitters. His 7.75 K/BB rate this season is best among AL relievers (Mariano Rivera is second at 7.20).

In his career as a reliever (past two seasons), he's struck out 117 hitters and walked 13 in 91 innings. Last season after July 31, Uehara struck out 38 hitters and walked none in 27 2/3 innings.

Uehara is also very hot as of late. He hasn’t surrendered a run in his last 13 games (15 IP). During that stretch, he has yielded only five hits while striking out 23 hitters and walking two.

In other early Saturday trades:

• The Tigers acquired starter Doug Fister and reliever David Pauley from the Mariners in exchange for outfielder Casper Wells, infielder Francisco Martinez, left-hander
Charlie Furbush and a player to be named later.

• The Nationals made two deals, trading utilityman Jerry
Hairston Jr.
to the Brewers for prospect Erik Komatsu and dealing starter Jason Marquis to the Diamondbacks for infielder Zach Walters.