So much for spring training.
J.J. Putz threw only 30 or so pitches while making two appearances in major league spring training games, part of his spring regimen that was heavy on early long toss and bullpen work.
And right when Putz was ready to crank it up to reach his expected seven or eight appearances, he was shelved for almost two weeks because of tightness in his back suffered while warming up for his third outing, although he did manage back-to-back appearances against Mexican League teams the final week of March.
Early results indicate the lack of work was no big deal.
Putz has retired all six batters he has faced while converting both of his save appearances on the D-backs' season-opening trip to Colorado and Chicago. He had two strikeouts in 1-2-3 11th inning in a 7-6 victory at Colorado on April 1, then got a strikeout and two pop-ups in a 1-2-3 ninth of a 6-4 victory at Chicago on Wednesday.
"He's a veteran guy," manager Kirk Gibson said. "He came in and threw strikes and got us through it."
Putz signed a two-year, $10 million free agent deal as the major piece in general manager Kevin Towers' bullpen remake, and his presence has been reassuring.
Putz throws a low-90 mph fastball, and he had had success while mixing in his split-finger pitch (at Colorado) and a slider (Chicago). The split-finger finally felt good in Colorado, he said.
"I was able to figure a little bit of it out," Putz said. "I got some good swings and misses on it."
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