Putz encouraged by outing despite results

Putz encouraged by outing despite results

Putz encouraged by outing despite results
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- One of the reasons J.J. Putz threw in a simulated game on a back field rather than a Cactus League game last week was so that he could get his pitch count up.

The D-backs closer had thrown only nine pitches in his first Cactus League outing and wanted to be able to throw more to build arm strength as well as work on refining his slider.

The good news is that Putz got plenty of work in Wednesday against the Angels.

The bad news? It was not a pretty outing.

Putz allowed four runs on two hits, walked three and recorded just one out, which came when Erick Aybar was caught stealing.

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"You know, I actually felt pretty good," Putz said. "The arm felt great. It was just one of those days I just had really no feel at all for any pitch. There are positives to build from this -- building up your pitch count builds arm strength, but unfortunately the results weren't there. I just really had no feel at all."

Location was clearly an issue for Putz with the three walks and a wild pitch.

"You don't expect that," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He didn't throw the ball very well. He didn't throw strikes."

It was not the kind of day that Putz expected after the way he threw warming up.

"It was weird because in the bullpen I felt great," Putz said. "I was locating great and then I think I jumped out 0-2 on the first hitter and from there it just went [downhill]."

Putz did feel he made progress during his simulated game with his slider, which he said he threw twice, getting a foul ball on the first one and missing down and away with the second.

"Other than today during the game, it's been really good," Putz said of the pitch that would give him a weapon in addition to his fastball and split. "I felt really comfortable with it. It's just one of those days, man. We've been working hard on it, so we're going to stick with it. I mean, I couldn't throw a fastball for a strike today and that's not very common."

In addition to just building up his pitch count and refining his slider, Putz worked on a mechanical adjustment during his simulated game. Bullpen coach Glenn Sherlock had discovered that was causing him to not be lined up the way he needed to be during his delivery.

On Wednesday, Putz did not have trouble getting himself in line, but he noticed another mechanical issue.

"I was just almost like overthrowing," he said. "I was flying open with my front side for whatever reason. I don't know why I was doing that."

Putz is next scheduled to pitch Friday against the Mariners in Peoria, and was anxious to put Wednesday's outing behind him.

"I'll be over it as soon as I walk out of here," he said. "Friday can't come soon enough."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @dbackswriter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.