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Kohn happy to be back on mound after long road

ANAHEIM -- The arduous Major League Baseball schedule hardly offers an avenue for reflection, but Michael Kohn made sure he took some time to put things in perspective on Saturday. It had been a long road back from Tommy John surgery.

"I got home, went to the hotel, sat down and was like, 'All right, I came back' -- gave myself a tap on the back and said, 'Good job,'" said Kohn, who threw a scoreless ninth inning in the Angels' 10-0 win over the Tigers on Saturday, his first Major League outing in 21 months.

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"It was awesome, just to come back from surgery and be back on a big league mound facing elite hitters. It was kind of like my second coming, I guess. I saved the ball. I came back from a long injury. I'm very proud of myself for getting back. Now it's just time to do work."

Angels manager Mike Scioscia noticed Kohn had "more life on his fastball than he had in Spring Training." The 26-year-old right-hander threw a first-pitch fastball at 96 mph, then stayed at 94-95 mph the rest of the frame, a tick or two faster than where he was in 2011.

Kohn's surgery (April 12, 2012) came one day after Ryan Madson's, but his program was more aggressive and thus his recovery time was much quicker. Madson pitched to hitters for the first time on Friday, while Kohn was appearing in Spring Training games as early as Feb. 23.

Kohn gave up nine runs (four earned) in 3 1/3 Cactus League innings before getting cut in mid-March. But he had five scoreless outings in Triple-A Salt Lake, striking out seven and walking none in 4 1/3 innings.

"My arm felt great; it was just a matter of harnessing the stuff and delivery and stuff like that," Kohn said. "That was the last hurdle, and I'm still working on that every day."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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