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Putz returns from DL, gets closer's job back

Putz returns from DL, gets closer's job back

ATLANTA -- J.J. Putz was back on the D-backs' active roster Saturday and back in his closer's role.

"He's going to close today if the opportunity is there," manager Kirk Gibson said.

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Putz had been on the disabled list since May 8 with a strained elbow. Heath Bell was closing in Putz's absence, and he went 13-for-15 in save opportunities over that stretch.

"I think the bullpen did a great job," Putz said of his time away. "They definitely had some ups and downs, but I think Heath did a really good job nailing it down in the ninth. Everybody wants to make a big thing about the fact that he was giving up runs, but his save percentage was pretty good."

The one hesitation that Gibson has with Putz initially is in using him in back-to-back games.

"If he throws to one hitter today and he throws five pitches, then yeah, he'd be available tomorrow," Gibson said in explaining how he plans to use Putz. "But if he throws an inning and it's 18 or 20 pitches, he's not going to be available the next day. For now. We've got to build him up. You can't just exhaust the guy."

Putz was 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA and five saves when he was placed on the DL.

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

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