MIAMI -- D-backs closer J.J. Putz has not appeared in a game for over a week, but that doesn't mean the right-hander hasn't thrown.
In fact, Putz has thrown. A lot. Just in the bullpen.
Entering Monday, the closer last got into a game on April 22, when he saved a 6-4 win over the Braves. In the six games since, he's warmed up almost each game.
"Too many times," manager Kirk Gibson said about Putz warming and not getting used. "That's been unfortunate. [His arm is] probably hanging on. I'm afraid to talk to him today."
What's the big deal about warming up? Well, consider Putz's answer when asked what the difference is as far as the toll it takes on an arm to warm up as opposed to pitching in a game.
"It's pretty much the same," Putz said. "Once you get hot, it's the same no matter whether you get in or not."
That's why Gibson usually likes to get his pitcher in the game if he warms up, but with a closer, it's a little trickier.
Take Sunday's 8-4 win over the Marlins. It was 8-1 heading into the ninth before Miami scored three runs off Mike Zagurski. Bryan Shaw came in and walked the first batter he faced, so Gibson got Putz up just in case, because the Marlins were a home run away from having the tying run on deck.
Shaw retired pinch-hitter Austin Kearns to end the game, but Putz had already gotten warm.
"He's thrown a lot in the bullpen," Gibson said. "It's part of it. You're in games, you've got to get your guys up. He'll dig through it, but it's not ideal so far."
Putz said his arm feels good and that the times he's had to warm up have at least helped keep him sharp despite not getting into a game in a while.