Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Putz nearing return from disabled list

By Anthony Fenech / | 07/20/11

PHOENIX -- D-backs closer J.J. Putz has only one more hurdle to clear before being activated from the disabled list.

"Personally, I'd like to see him pitch back-to-back [days]," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "I want to make sure. I don't want him to be available one day in the closer's role and not the other."

Putz pitched an inning of scoreless relief on Tuesday night in extended spring training, threw 17 pitches, induced three ground-ball outs and reported no discomfort on Wednesday.

"It went well," Putz said. "Everything feels good. I still think I need maybe one more outing in a competitive atmosphere."

Gibson said on Wednesday that he expects Putz to head to Triple-A Reno and pitch Friday and Saturday before the team makes a decision on when to bring him back.

"It depends on when I go back-to-back days," Putz said. "I figure if I pitch Friday and don't pitch Saturday, it's kind of pointless for one game then a day off.

"It's good to get out there that second day and see how everything feels," he continued. "Not so much how you feel that day, but after those two days."

Putz has 21 saves with a 3.12 ERA in 34 games this season. He has been sidelined since July 1 with a right elbow injury.

"Realistically, probably the beginning of the next road trip," he said.

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