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Uehara could return for end of season

Uehara could return for end of season

BALTIMORE -- Koji Uehara is nearing the home stretch. The Orioles' rookie pitcher has one week left in his recovery from a partially torn flexor tendon in his right elbow and could return for the final three weeks of the season. Uehara, who has been out since the end of June, will recover too late to pitch in a rehab stint, as the Minor League season ends the beginning of September.

As of now, the plan is for Uehara to make three mound sessions -- Wednesday, Friday and Sunday -- before the Orioles decide on his status for the rest of the season. Uehara is expected to throw 30 pitches on Wednesday, 35 pitches on Friday and 40 pitches on Sunday before the club ponders activating him.

And in manager Dave Trembley's mind, the key is to be as careful as possible.

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"I would say that Koji is throwing sideline [sessions] three times this week and again on Sunday," said Trembley. "I would think we'll remain consistent with what we said in the past. When he does get here, he'll be in the bullpen. ... Before we get to that point, he has to throw [on Monday]. And then we'll see how he is on Wednesday."

Uehara, the first Japanese player the Orioles have signed, started for the first half of the season. The 10-year veteran of Japan's Central League won his first two starts and then went 10 outings without a positive decision. He spent a month on the disabled list with a hamstring ailment before injuring his pitching elbow.

The right-hander hasn't thrown in a game situation since the end of June, and the Orioles won't have a chance to test him at any of their Minor League affiliates. If and when he comes back, he'll likely have to do so cold.

"The information I'm giving you is what I have. I couldn't speculate on anything else. I think it's a wait-and-see thing," said Trembley. "The Minor League season ends on Sept. 7, I believe. He's throwing a sideline on Sunday, the fifth. I would think that would be virtually out of the question. I don't know how we could do that."

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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