J.J. Putz remains the Diamondbacks’ closer, but he may not be the only reliever placed in save situations in the near future. The D-backs saw Putz’s fastball velocity drop from 95 mph to 89 mph when he was used three times in four days recently, and manager Kirk Gibson said he will try to do a better job of managing Putz’s workload. Putz either warmed up for or appeared in eight of 11 games during the D-backs’ recent stretch of 16 games without an off day. “I’m going to be more proactive, yes. I may not pitch him two days in a row. I may pitch him two and give him two off,” Gibson said before the D-backs opened a three-game series in San Diego on Friday. “We need to get J.J. on track. J.J. is my closer. I am going to make sure I monitor and give him a chance to build back up and get back into the season. He’s 36 years old. That’s the way it is. I want to give him a better chance to be successful, that’s for sure. I don’t want to push him as hard as I did. We’ll do what we have to do to try to win the game.” Putz would close Friday, Gibson said, and there will be no major role changes, only possible usage tweaks, for a bullpen that has a majors-high 10 failed save conversions. Putz has four and setup man David Hernandez has three. That the D-backs’ 16 straight games included acute travel -- they did not arrive for a game in Denver on April 19 until 5 a.m. after an extra-inning night game in Yankee Stadium the night before -- along with six extra-inning games and an abundance of close games added to the burden. The D-backs have played 20 games decided by two runs or less. D-backs relievers have pitched 90 2/3 innings, sixth in the NL.
Putz still closer, but workload will be watched
Fox Sports Arizona | May 4