SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- In addition to monitoring the workload of reliever Takashi Saito, the D-backs plan to take it easy on closer J.J. Putz this spring. Last spring, Putz asked to throw in simulated games on back fields so that he could work on pitches. The plan was to get him into spring games later in March, but his availability for the season opener became dicey when a neck injury set him back and he had to pitch in the team's final exhibition games against teams from the Mexican League in order to be ready. "He probably tried to do some things he shouldn't have done and maybe he overthrew trying to impress us and hurt his neck," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said of Putz, who was in his first season with Arizona. "He's going to throw in games."
Whether those games will be more towards the end of the spring, as Putz had planned on doing last year, remains to be seen. "I haven't laid that out yet," Gibson said. One thing, Gibson said jokingly, will change for sure. "He's going to throw more than he did last time," Gibson said breaking into a smile. "Won't be hard. I threw more than him last year."