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05/29/08 4:30 PM ET

Adams legs his way back into the bigs

Hurler returns to Majors after three knee surgeries in a year

SAN DIEGO -- When reliever Mike Adams appeared in his first game with the Padres on May 22, it marked the first time in two seasons he had appeared in a Major League game.

But it wasn't Adams' right arm -- neither injury, nor ineffectiveness -- that kept him from the Major Leagues, but three significant knee surgeries in the span of a year.

Adams, who has allowed two runs in six innings in his first four games with the Padres, had microfracture surgery on his left knee in September of 2006. Just when Adams was ready to return, his suffered a second injury to the same knee in Spring Training.

Following the second microfracture surgery on his left knee, Adams, 29, felt a pinch in his right knee in July of 2007. That would mean a third microfracture surgery.

"I felt another pop," said Adams, who previously had pitched parts of three seasons for Milwaukee from 2004-06.

"You're glad it's not the arm, but at the same time, if you don't have your knees, it's not going to do you any good," Adams said.

Adams was recalled from Triple-A Portland on May 22 and tossed two scoreless innings of relief in an 8-2 victory over Cincinnati. Adams admitted to being a little emotional after that game.

"To know that I've made it back and get back in a Major League clubhouse ... It got pretty emotional once I got back in the clubhouse and thought about what I've been through to get back here," he said.

"In the back of my head, I was wondering if I'd ever come back to pitch again. There were a few doubts now and then. But all the hours of rehab, all of the work that I put in paid off."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.