© 2011 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

09/03/11 8:48 PM ET

Bard OK after ball gets stuck in facemask

OAKLAND -- Mariners catcher Josh Bard survived a scary incident in the bottom of the sixth inning Saturday with A's shortstop Cliff Pennington at the plate.

Pennington got a first-pitch fastball from Mariners right-hander Michael Pineda and fouled it straight back.

The ball slammed into Bard's catcher's mask -- and stuck between the bars.

"I think it was just one of those times when it was a perfect placement and maybe a softer ball than normal," Bard said. "It just stuck. Obviously I'm grateful that I still have my eye and nose. I still have plenty of nose," he joked. "So it's all good."

Bard said he was dazed "a little bit" by the foul ball.

"That's part of the territory," he said.

Bard stayed in the game and, after inspecting his mask, continued using it for the remainder of the game.

"I've never seen it before, that's for sure," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "I've never seen it get stuck.

"I wouldn't have taken the mask back out there, because if it got stuck, it almost got through, but he stuck with it."

Kelley excited to be back on mound for Seattle

OAKLAND -- Mariners right-hander Shawn Kelley has pitched plenty of scoreless innings during his career as a relief pitcher, but probably none as emotional as the one he pitched Friday night in a 9-2 loss to the A's.

Kelley, who opened the sixth inning, made his first big-league appearance since June 15, 2010. He underwent season-ending and career-threatening surgery on his pitching elbow that season.

"It was really exciting," Kelley said Saturday morning, speaking about Friday night's action. "A lot of anticipation leading up to that and when it would come and if it would come this year or ever again. There were a lot of emotions out there. I really haven't pitched in front of this coaching staff, a lot of my teammates.

"I was excited to get out there and try to show them what I could do, but at the same time remember that I still have to be me and do what I have to do out there. But yeah, coming off the mound it was a pretty cool feeling to finally be back out there after a long road with a few setbacks. It was cool."

Kelley underwent Tommy John surgery in 2002. His surgery in 2010 was Tommy John with a twist, he said. Surgeons didn't replace the elbow ligament.

"They actually kept the ligament in there this time when they went in there and reattached it at one end," Kelley said. "It had pulled off the bone. So they did the Tommy John at one end of the ligament with the ligament in there. The doctors said they had never done that before and they hoped it went well."

During his rehabilitation, Kelley said he had a couple setbacks and wondered if he should have had the damaged ligament replaced.

"For all I knew, I might have been done, but I kept working at it, and I finally made it back here," he said.

Kelley was 1-0 with a 1.84 ERA at Triple-A Tacoma in 12 relief appearances from July 27-Aug. 29 this season. The Mariners recalled him Thursday when rosters were expanded.

"I'm continuing to get better and get stronger," Kelley said. "My velocity's not all the way back, but I'd say I'm pretty close to 100 percent as far as my feel out there, and my command and my other pitches. I'm good right now. I feel like I'm where I need to be, and I'll continue to work this offseason, too, to get the strength back and get the velocity back."

Wells relieved that skid at plate is over

OAKLAND -- Rookie outfielder Casper Wells was on an 0-for-30 skid when he came to the plate in the second inning Friday night to face A's right-hander Guillermo Moscoso, his former Minor League teammate in the Tigers' organization.

Wells hadn't had a hit since Aug. 23 at Cleveland. But with two out and Kyle Seager on first, Wells smoked a double to left. Can you say relief?

"I think sometimes you can let some stuff build, you try to do too much instead of sticking to being relaxed and letting things happen as they may," Wells said before Saturday's game against the A's.

"It's kind of similar to trying to get your first Major League hit," Wells added. "That was at this park, actually. Go figure. Maybe you just feel a little more comfortable at the dish. Maybe that put me in a good spot to move forward. I felt pretty comfortable up there after that. I made solid contact. That's all you can do, is make solid contact with the ball."

That double was Wells' only hit of the game, but in the seventh inning he made solid contact and flew out to deep center.

To some, it was a surprise that Wells was even in the starting lineup. He certainly seemed due for a break, but Mariners manager Eric Wedge said he wanted Wells to work his way out of his slump. That's the same approach he's using for many of his young players as he grooms them for next season and beyond.

"There's a method to the madness, because it's going to come back to us," Wedge said. "'Why were you playing Casper Wells yesterday when he's oh-for-whatever?' Because you want him to have a day like he had yesterday to figure it out. Otherwise, what are you doing? You just keep spinning. We can't keep spinning. We've been doing that too long here."

Despite his skid, Wells is still batting .244 with 10 home runs and 26 RBIs in just 201 at-bats.

"If you think about numbers it could eat you up." Wells said. "If you think about more than you need to be thinking about. You just need to go out there and let your abilities take over. But it definitely felt good getting that hit."

Worth noting

• Third baseman Chone Figgins (right hip flexor) will likely be activated from the disabled list next week, Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.

"He had a good work day yesterday. He's working again today," Wedge said. "Obviously the whole Triple-A [rehab] thing is out of the mix now. What we'll do is activate him and break him back in here."

Figgins hasn't played since being injured Aug. 1 against the A's.

• Designated hitter/outfielder Wily Mo Pena missed his third straight game to be with his pregnant wife, but he is expected to rejoin the team for Sunday's game, Wedge said.

Eric Gilmore is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.