Arizona Diamondbacks Simply Treading Water, Await J.J. Putz Return

By Devin O'Barr
J.J. Putz tosses a pitch
Jennifer Stewart – USA TODAY SPORTS

Although he may be a bit of a journeymen, the career that J.J. Putz has turned in up to this point is rather impressive. The Arizona Diamondbacks know first hand just how successful Putz has been in recent years considering the closer has nailed home 82 saves after just three years in the desert.

However, Putz hit the disabled list on June 8th and many believed that he would need major elbow surgery and miss most of the season. Luckily, the Snakes’ closer has been able to rehabilitate rather than go under the knife and is expected back in the coming weeks. As good a job that Heath Bell has done in the meantime, the team will surely benefit when its opening-day closer returns to the mound.

In particular, Bell has been serviceable with 12 saves, yet his 4.02 ERA is definitely a cause for concern. For all of you aboard the Bell bandwagon, keep in mind that Putz’s ERA since joining the Arizona roster is 2.66.

Coming in a deal with the Miami Marlins, Bell was brought in to set up the All-Star Putz, so No. 40’s return will help everyone on the roster adjust. Unfortunately, elbow issues for pitchers just don’t seem to ever cease — time will tell if Putz can be a force once again in 2013.

One thing is for certain: the Diamondbacks need to monitor his health carefully because the closer is a free agent after the 2014 season and will be a hot commodity if/when he hits the MLB free agent market once again.

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