When the season started, I had six saves in 300 career games. This year alone, I already have nine saves. Baseball brings a lot of surprises. It's a funny game that way. Right now, I'm having fun in the closer's role and it's going good. I take every opportunity I can.

I feel good about the way I'm throwing the ball right now. Most importantly, I feel very good about my health. I missed all of last year after undergoing Tommy John surgery, so it's a relief to come back and feel strong and healthy again.

I believe I'm throwing as well as I've thrown the ball in my career. Now, I just want to keep it going and continue to pitch well.

In Spring Training, I didn't focus too much on what my role on the team would be. I just wanted to make the team. Whatever role they were to give me, I was just going to go out there and do my job the best I could.

I missed baseball -- I missed the game a lot last year while I was rehabbing following the surgery. But I had a lot of rehabilitation to do. It was a lot of work and it would get frustrating. I kept looking forward to getting back on the mound.

My injury happened on the last game of the 2005 season. I was with St. Louis and we were about to start the playoffs. That made it particularly frustrating. It was a fun time of year and the team was counting on me to be ready for the playoffs.

Coming back from the injury, I tried to remain positive. I was 37, but I had seen guys in the big leagues do it before. Guys can pitch into their 40s these days. During my rehab, that's what I thought about.

Veteran reliever Al Reyes has been a pleasant surprise for Tampa Bay's bullpen so far this season. The Cristobal, Dominican Republic-born Reyes has converted all nine of his save chances and has 16 strikeouts over 12 innings.