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D-Backs closer J.J. Putz left Tuesday's game with elbow stiffness

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

J.J. Putz (USATSI)
J.J. Putz walked off the field with the trainer on Tuesday. (USATSI)

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After walking the only batter he faced on four pitches, Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz left Tuesday's game with stiffness in his pitching elbow. Afterwards he said he first felt something on the second pitch he threw.

“Just felt stiff in my elbow and zings down my fingers and I knew something wasn't right," said Putz. “The hardest thing is not knowing what it is. We are going to go see the doctor tomorrow and figure out what it is.”

Putz, 36, has a history of elbow problems. He missed about a month last season with elbow inflammation, and surgery to remove bone spurs and loose bodies sidelined him for most of 2009. Knee and back problems have also limited him in the past.

The veteran right-hander has blown four saves in nine chances this year, allowing six runs and 20 base runners in 12 2/3 innings. Putz has also walked eight batters already, just three fewer than last season in 41 2/3 fewer innings.

Heath Bell came in to record the save on Tuesday, and it seems like he has a decent chance to remain the closer while Putz is out despite a 4.73 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. Setup man David Hernandez would the other alternative.

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