Saito on track for return after bullpen session

Saito on track for return after bullpen session

ATLANTA -- After testing the strength of his left hamstring during a bullpen session at Turner Field on Wednesday afternoon, Takashi Saito gained more confidence in the possibility that he will be activated from the disabled list when he becomes eligible on Saturday.

"Today's bullpen [session] wasn't about how good or bad I felt," Saito said through his interpreter. "It was just to show myself that I could throw off a mound."

Braves manager Bobby Cox said he is hoping that Saito will be back in the Braves' bullpen on Saturday. The 40-year-old, right-handed reliever will complete some fielding drills on Thursday, and then complete another bullpen session on Friday before the club's medical staff determines whether he is healthy enough to return.

Saito, who has posted a 2.92 ERA in 25 appearances as Atlanta's top setup man this year, has been sidelined since straining his left hamstring during the ninth inning of a June 3 game at Dodger Stadium.

"I really believe that I do want to come back by Saturday, but I still can't say that for sure," Saito said. "I need to speak with the pitching coach, trainers and Bobby about it first."