SARASOTA, Fla. — There isn't quite the buzz around Koji Uehara this spring that there was last year, but he still draws a contingent of Japanese media every time he takes a new step in the spring routine.
He threw live batting practice for the first time on Thursday, delivering a steady diet of fastballs down in the strike zone and getting some approving comments from manager Dave Trembley.
"He looks like he has on his side sessions," Trembley said. "He looks strong. He looks quick with his arm. He has late life on his pitches. That's what he looked like at the beginning of the season last year. We need him to just continue that for us."
Uehara has been moved into the bullpen after a season in which he did not adapt well to starting every fifth day. His health was always an issue in 2009, but Trembley said he seems more in tune with the club's spring training regimen this year.
"I don't see Koji being on any special program," he said. "He's more integrated into what the program is here, and he must have done a lot more work in the offseason. Last year it was new for him. He didn't know what to expect. This year, he has come in with a whole lot better idea of what the routine is here."
Temperatures have dropped again in South Florida, and a cold wind blew through the Ed Smith Stadium complex Thursday, forcing the Orioles to bundle up for the morning workout, but Trembley said he didn't expect any sympathy from the fans up north.
"You're going to play in these elements early in the season, so you've got to schedule and you've got your work to get in," he said. "The players got it done. We had a good rotation. Moved along good. It was a nice day.
"It's unusually cool weather here in Florida. We'll get through it. Just the way it is."
Brad Bergesen threw to a catcher on flat ground in the morning and will throw his first bullpen session from the mound Saturday.
Bergesen has been slowed a strained shoulder he suffered in December while filming a commercial.
Chris Tillman said he felt fine the day after returning to the mound to test his stiff back. He'll throw a live BP session today.
The Orioles have incorporated a new station in the morning workout routine. Some of the club's left-handed hitters are getting an extra session of batting practice against a left-handed batting practice pitcher on one of the back fields.
Trembley said he decided to increase the amount of leff-on-left BP because of the team's inconsistent performance against lefties last season.
Andino will branch out
Trembley confirmed Thursday that Robert Andino will likely be the back up to both Cesar Izturis and Brian Roberts and said that Andino also will get work at third base and in the outfield this spring.
Once again, Trembley said there are absolutely no plans to give Nolan Reimold any innings at first base.
"I put that to bed at FanFest," he said.
The Orioles will hold tryouts for ballboy and ballgirl at noon March 6 at Camden Yards. Men and women at least 18 years old are asked to wear business casual attire and bring a resume with them.