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Fujikawa takes another step toward return

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CHICAGO -- Right-handed reliever Kyuji Fujikawa may be getting closer to returning to the big leagues.

Fujikawa, on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Iowa, threw in back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday as he tries to come back from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, which he underwent in June 2013.

"I can say he's responding well after his outing, and we'll continue to monitor and see where he's at," manager Rick Renteria said on Monday. "He's doing fine and feeling good."

In four games with Iowa, Fujikawa has given up seven hits and walked three while striking out 12 over 9 2/3 innings. Renteria said the reports say the velocity is good.

"Our concern is basically that he's comfortable and pain-free," Renteria said.

Fujikawa, who turned 34 on July 21, also appeared in four games for the Cubs' Rookie League team, and two for Class A Kane County as part of his rehab.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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