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Okajima: ‘I’m not 100 percent yet’

07.09.10 at 8:00 pm ET
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TORONTO — Hideki Okajima, who came into Friday night have pitched just once since June 29, said prior to the Red Sox‘ series-opener against the Blue Jays that his bad back still bothers him, but won’t stop the lefty from making himself available.

“The condition of being able to throw is better. It causes a little pain, even when I was running. I’m not 100 percent yet but I’m able to throw so that’s why I’m pitching in the games now,” said Okajima through translator Ryo Shinkawa.

“It was in a different area compared to the other times I’ve had back problems. I don’t know what the reason for it was, but it was a different pain than I had ever experienced before. I think, personally, it came from the balance of throwing.”

Okajima is currently 2-2 with a 6.00 ERA, with opposing hitters batting .330 against the southpaw. While he has had just the one, July 6 appearance this month (2/3 innings, two hits, run), he finished June giving up seven runs on 14 hits over 9 2/3 innings.

“It’s been probably two weeks since I’ve first had the back problem. I tried to fight through it and pitch it out, but toward the end it became too painful to throw so I took that time off,” he said. “I feel like I have to train and get back to that mentality (of previous years) and get back to where I was.”

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