ST. LOUIS -- After being shelved for two days with upper back tightness, closer Edward Mujica returned to action Saturday. The right-hander put down a brief ninth-inning surge from the Braves to earn his 34th save of the season.
"I feel much better today, that's why I talked to [manager Mike Matheny]," Mujica said. "I was ready to go tonight, and he put me in the game."
Mujica met with Dr. Clayton Skaggs on Thursday, and with no structural damage, the closer treated the tightness in the right upper side of his back with rest, heat and ice packs, exercises and anti-inflammatory medication. Mujica said he expects to be available again in Sunday's series finale with Atlanta, but will wait to see how he feels then.
Neither Randy Choate nor Seth Maness could secure the final out in the ninth. Instead, they allowed Atlanta to score on three consecutive hits, creating a save opportunity for Mujica, who struck out Elliot Johnson with three pitches.
"If he's going to be in there, it's good that it was short," Matheny said. "Same thing with Seth. It's been a while since we've had Randy in there. We wanted him to get some outs. Needed to get some help, but fortunately it was a short outing for Seth and for [Mujica]. It looked like he felt good."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.