© 2008 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

09/10/08 7:51 PM ET

Aardsma returns to Red Sox's 'pen

Righty anticipates earning way back as reliable reliever

BOSTON -- Somewhat of a forgotten man because of his constant right groin injuries during the second half, right-hander David Aardsma quietly returned to the Red Sox's bullpen on Wednesday, though he likely won't pitch until Friday, when Boston opens a four-game series against the Blue Jays.

When Aardsma last returned from the disabled list on Aug. 10, he pitched all of four times before re-injuring himself.

This time, he plans on a far more fruitful comeback.

"I think I might have pushed it a little last time trying to get back so bad," said Aardsma. "I kind of tried to learn a little bit from my mistake. I tried to take it a little easier and get it stronger before I just jump right back into it."

During his Minor League rehab, Aardsma gained confidence that he's healthy again.

"I went down, I felt really good," Aardsma said. "The leg didn't hurt at all throwing. I think the biggest part is I wasn't tentative. It was just great being back here and great being active. I want to jump right in there and help as much as I can. The team has been playing great and they're throwing awesome, so I just want to do what I can."

The biggest thing the injury took away from Aardsma was his velocity, which was in the upper 90's at times earlier this season.

Aardsma is confident he will get that back.

"I felt good -- I felt the ball was coming out really strong," said Aardsma. "And the one good thing is I felt like I was hitting my spots really well. That was the one thing I wasn't doing before, even when I came back. I felt good but I wasn't hitting my spots. This time I was hitting my spots."

Now he will try to regain a spot as someone Red Sox manager Terry Francona can count on in the mid to late innings.

"Obviously, we don't have a whole lot of time, so I really have to kind of bust my butt and really try to get back and get to the same place these guys are," Aardsma said.

In 42 appearances this season, Aardsma is 3-2 with a 4.19 ERA.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.