Koji Uehara was recently recalled to the Giants and was promptly inserted into a game as a reliever against the Hiroshima Carp. He threw 11 pitches and retired the side in order. His next appearance wasn't quite as good as he went 2 innings while giving up 3 runs (1 earned) on 6 hits, a walk, and 2 strikeouts. Uehara faced 12 batters and threw 39 pitches.
Incidentally, those 2 unearned runs came around to score on a passed ball after loading the bases.
Uehara is now 1-4 with a 6.40 ERA. In 32.1 innings he's faced 150 batters and has given up 46 hits (5 for homeruns) and 9 walks -- that comes out to a 1.70 WHIP.
For a little perspective, Uehara has a career 3.03 ERA to go along with a 1.01 WHIP. He's always given up a lot of homeruns over his career (1.07 HR/9), so his 5 over 32.1 innings (1.39 HR/9) so far this year isn't that far off. However, his walks and hits over 9 innings this season is a little troubling.
The only real saving grace here is that 2008 is still a fairly small sample. But with such a large swing in numbers, you have to wonder whether or not he's hiding an injury, or if at 33, his body is slowly beginning to show the effects of all those innings he threw earlier in his career.
In 10 season (including this year):
195+ innings twice (197.2, 204, 207.1)
10+ complete games twice (12, 11)
And he posted those numbers in 27 or fewer starts (starters in Japan average anywhere from 25-30 games a season and over 10 seasons he maxed out at 27 starts, twice).
It'll be interesting to see how the Giants handle Uehara this season. He was pretty much a starter for most of his career up until last season when they started using him in relief (primarily as a closer). The Giants then re-converted him to a starter at the beginning of this season, but with mixed results that ultimately landed him in ni-gun (minors).
IMHO, I think he's better suited as a reliever at this point in his career. Here are some numbers from his 2007 campaign:
If he decides to test the FA market in the States this winter, he might do well to market himself as a reliever instead of a starter.