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Happ feels good, ready to go on Wednesday

Happ feels good, ready to go on Wednesday

Happ feels good, ready to go on Wednesday

SEATTLE -- If there are any lingering doubts about Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ returning to the mound, they aren't coming from him.

Happ is scheduled to start Wednesday's series finale against the Mariners, in what will be his first appearance since a line drive struck him in the head on May 7. The result of the play was a skull fracture and a sprained right knee, sustained when he fell to the ground. The left-hander was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list on Monday, but didn't join the team in Seattle until Tuesday.

"I am happy about the way I feel now and I am happy to finally be here after all that because ... rehab's never fun, this kind of stuff wasn't fun," Happ said.

Happ said the sprain has been more of an issue than the skull fracture and he believes he would have been back sooner if it weren't for the knee. It took about three weeks for the fluid in his head to be reabsorbed and he could have pitched much sooner if it weren't for the sprain, Happ said.

The 30-year-old admitted that he initially thought his recovery time would only take a couple weeks, but then that time frame kept expanding. When he was finally able to pitch in a live setting, though, he was more relieved than nervous.

"I was happy just to get out there and compete again and throw to hitters with no screen in front of me, no turtle [backstop] behind them, just real competition," Happ said. "It was great. It's been great since then."

Happ went 0-2 with a 4.22 ERA in five rehab starts in the Minor Leagues, including three with Triple-A Buffalo. He allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings during his last appearance with Buffalo.

Toronto manager John Gibbons said he hopes to get about five or six innings from Happ on Wednesday.

Josh Liebeskind is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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