Uehara activated off DL; Layne optioned to Triple-A

Uehara activated off DL; Layne optioned to Triple-A

BOSTON -- The Red Sox got closer Koji Uehara back for Monday's home opener. The righty started the season on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain, but he was cleared to return after one Minor League rehab performance for Class A Greenville on Saturday.

"It wasn't a date that I was aiming for. It just happened that I was healed at this point. I am happy that I'm here," Uehara said through an interpreter.

Though Uehara gave up three hits and a run against Greenville while throwing 17 pitches, the Red Sox didn't deem it necessary for him to get another tune-up.

"I felt really comfortable out there," Uehara said. "I wasn't pleased that I got hit around, but I felt really comfortable."

To make room for Uehara on the roster, the Red Sox optioned lefty Tommy Layne to Triple-A Pawtucket. Even without Layne, Boston still has two southpaws in the bullpen in Craig Breslow and Robbie Ross Jr., as well as a righty in Anthony Varvaro who excels against left-handed hitters.

"Part of it was, 'Who's the most fresh?' We had to send Tommy down, and he's done a very good job for us," said manager John Farrell. "We know he's going to be back at some point this season, but we felt like we needed to keep another right-hander in the bullpen."

Only one save opportunity presented itself during Uehara's time on the DL, and Edward Mujica couldn't convert, giving up a game-tying homer to Chase Headley with two outs in the ninth against the Yankees on Friday. The Red Sox won that game, 6-5, in 19 innings.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.