SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs closer J.J. Putz said that his simulated game on a back field at the club's Spring Training facility on Saturday was more productive than pitching in a Cactus League game. The right-hander will pitch in Cactus League games on Wednesday and Friday this week. Putz, who has appeared in one game so far this spring, has been given the freedom to design his schedule leading into the season. Drawing on his experience when he was closer for the Mariners, he told the D-backs that he did not need to get into game action until March 7.
In that outing, he retired the Royals in order and did not get to throw a lot of pitches, something he was able to do Saturday under the controlled environment of the simulated game. "I think I threw 27 pitches, where the other day you saw I threw only nine pitches," Putz said. "Of those nine pitches, I think I threw two splits and no sliders and that's something I want to work on. So I was able to throw a lot of sliders [Saturday]." Another thing that Putz was able to work on was a mechanical flaw that he said bullpen coach Glenn Sherlock noticed while watching Putz play catch recently. "I've been working with Sherlock while we've been doing bullpen stuff, and that was something that really played out well [Saturday]," Putz said. "We were doing a couple of drills to try and keep the hip open instead of getting too twisted." Said Arizona manager Kirk Gibson, "He's right on schedule."