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Melvin going to take it easy with Sasaki early

SEATTLE -- Mariners closer Kazuhiro Sasaki, on the disabled list since June 11 because of fractured ribs, was activated Tuesday by the Seattle Mariners.

Sasaki hurt himself June 8 when he fell down his stairs while carrying a suitcase.

"It's a 100 percent recovery,'' the Seattle right-hander said through an interpreter.

During Sasaki's absence, manager Bob Melvin experimented with
different closers but eventually settled on Shigetoshi Hasegawa, who is 10-of-10 in save opportunities this season.

Melvin intends to take it slow with Sasaki.

"We're going to ease him into some situations,'' said Melvin,
who was pleased with Sasaki's performance during five
rehabilitation appearances in the minors.

"Ultimately we'd like to get him in a closer's role,'' Melvin
said.

Sasaki wanted no part of a closer controversy.

"I'll leave that up to the manager,'' Sasaki said. "If the
opportunity comes to close a game I'll be right there.''

Sasaki was also on the disabled list April 23-May 7 with a
strained muscle in his lower back.

Sasaki was 1-1 with a 4.12 ERA and was 10-for-14 in save
opportunities during his two earlier stints with the Mariners this
season.

To make room for Sasaki, the Mariners optioned RHP J.J. Putz to
Triple-A Tacoma.