New Red Sox trade acquisition has ‘good split,’ will ‘work on a few things’

SEATTLE — Manager Alex Cora said it has not yet been determined how long newly-acquired righty Naoyuki Uwasawa will spend in extended spring training before reporting to a Red Sox’ minor league affiliate team.

New Red Sox trade acquisition has 'good split,' will 'work on a few things'  -

“Just work on a few things and get him ready,” Cora said Thursday before Boston’s opener against the Mariners at T-Mobile Park.

The Red Sox selected Uwasawa onto the 40-man roster Thursday after acquiring him in a trade with the Rays on Wednesday. Boston sent cash to Tampa Bay.

Uwasawa previously pitched his entire career in Japan. He posted a 3.19 ERA over 1,118 ⅓ innings in nine seasons in Nippon Professional Baseball. He signed a minor league contract with the Rays on Jan. 11 despite reportedly receiving guaranteed offers from other clubs. He struggled during spring training, allowing 14 runs, 15 hits (three homers) and eight walks while striking out nine in 9 ⅔ innings.

“Good split,” Cora said. “I think we faced him twice in spring training. Early on he was struggling with the velo and command. There’s other stuff that came into play. But we feel pretty comfortable with him. Obviously we’re trying to add as many big league pitchers to the 40-man roster. And we do believe he is one. It just happens he’s not here with us.”

Uwasawa’s scouting report on Sports Info Solutions notes that he throws a fastball, splitter, curveball, slider, cutter and changeup. Sports Info Solutions wrote, “Uwasawa’s splitter is probably his best secondary and one that he should use more against left-handed batters. He surrendered only a .490 OPS against his splitter, but it was only his third most-used pitch to lefties, behind his fastball and curve. It might have been a case of Uwasawa relying on more velocity difference to keep the hitter’s timing off of his fastball.

“If he lessens his fastball usage and upticks the splitter (especially to lefty hitters), it will help him stay competitive at the bottom of the zone. With a 53% GB rate on his splitter and a 57% rate on his curveball, those will be his money pitches in terms of keeping the ball on the ground.”

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