D-Backs' J.J. Putz hoping to avoid elbow surgery with rehab
Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz is hoping to avoid elbow surgery and will instead try to rehab his injury.
Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz left Monday's game after four pitches with what was originally called elbow stiffness. He underwent tests on Wednesday and was placed on the DL. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has an update:
#DBacks closer J.J. Putz will not need elbow surgery. Hoping rehab will work. Sprained ligament, strained flexor pronator, irritated nerve.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 9, 2013
Manager Kirk Gibson told reporters on Tuesday afternoon that they know Putz is "not going to be back anytime soon," shortly after announcing Heath Bell would take over as closer. Bell nailed down the save against the Dodgers a few hours later.
Putz, 36, has a history of elbow problems, including inflammation that cost him a month last year. He missed most of the 2009 season following surgery to remove bone chips and loose bodies. Knee and back issues have hindered him in the past as well.
In 14 games this year, Putz has allowed six runs and eight walks in 12 2/3 innings. He also blew four of nine save chances despite striking out well more than a batter an inning (12.1 K/9). Setup man David Hernandez was the other closer option.
Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley tried to rehab ligament damage over the winter but recently had Tommy John surgery. Cardinals closer Jason Motte also attempted to rehab last month before needing surgery.