WASHINGTON -- When Kyuji Fujikawa last pitched for the Cubs in mid-April, he was the closer. On Friday, the Japanese right-hander was activated from the 15-day disabled list and won't be used in the late innings, manager Dale Sveum said.
"We'll ease him in right now to make sure everything is good -- velocity, command, life," Sveum said. "We'll ease him into whatever situation -- sixth, seventh inning, depending on the score of the game, obviously."
"Who knows what role I'll play in?" Fujikawa said through interpreter Ryo Shinkawa. "Whatever the manager says, I'll pitch in that role."
Fujikawa entered Friday's 7-3 loss to the Nationals in the seventh inning and faced the minimum. He did give up a hit to Ryan Zimmerman, but Zimmerman was thrown out at second by left fielder Alfonso Soriano when he tried to extend it to a double. Fujikawa also struck out a batter.
Fujikawa, 32, has been sidelined since April 13 with a strained right forearm. In two rehab games, he threw three scoreless innings, giving up one hit and walking one while striking out two. On Wednesday, he needed 16 pitches to throw two scoreless innings for Double-A Tennessee. He said he felt he got his rhythm back in the rehab outings.
In five relief appearances with the Cubs before he was injured, Fujikawa was 1-0 with two saves and a 12.46 ERA. Fujikawa did not like being sidelined.
"I let the team down, so I would like to contribute more," he said.
The Cubs optioned reliever Rafael Dolis, 25, to Triple-A Iowa to make room on the active roster for Fujikawa. Dolis did not give up an earned run in two relief appearances over two games with the Cubs. He had a 3.52 ERA in eight appearances at Iowa.
In other roster moves, reliever Kameron Loe was given his release. In seven games with the Cubs, Loe gave up five runs on 12 hits and four walks over 8 1/3 innings. He was acquired off waivers from the Mariners on April 15. He had been designated for assignment on Monday.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.