From the M's official website...
"The emergence of right-handed reliever Kazuhiro Sasaki brought a loud response from the 37,066 fans at Safeco Field who realize that a healthy and productive Kaz can only help the Mariners chances of holding off the Athletics in the AL West pennant race.
With a win on Wednesday night, Seattle (73-47) added a game to its AL West lead, which stands at four games over the Athletics.
"When the cheers came, that's when it really hit me and I became nervous," said Sasaki, who pitched the eighth inning in Seattle's 13-6 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. "I had fun today."
Sasaki's return provided one of the highlights in a wacky game that saw the Mariners lose a five-run lead, load the bases with none out and then have three straight strikeouts, and then overpower the Blue Jays with four-run rallies in the fifth and sixth innings.
Thanks to another right-handed reliever, Julio Mateo, the game was well in hand by the time Kaz made his first appearance since June 5 -- two days before he fell on his suitcase and suffered hairline fractures in two ribs. The ensuing two months have been painful and frustrating.
And all eyes were on Sasaki when he stepped on the mound to face veteran shortstop Mike Bordick.
Kaz retired Bordick on a grounder to shortstop Rey Sanchez, Frank Catalanotto on a grounder to first baseman John Olerud and Reed Johnson on a popup to Bret Boone. It was a clean and crisp inning.
"He looked good," pitching coach Bryan Price said. "He came in and threw strikes. He looked healthy and loose and hit 88-89 (mph) on his fastball, which shows life in his arm. I think it certainly is a step in the right direction and exactly what we wanted to see."
The plan the Mariners have set up for Sasaki is to use him a couple of times in non-crucial situations to get him accustomed to pitching again. Once he has re-established his fastball, splitter and change, he will return to the closer role."
The Dude Abides