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Gibson still has faith in struggling Putz

Gibson still has faith in struggling Putz

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs reliever J.J. Putz's numbers have not been impressive this spring, but manager Kirk Gibson has not lost faith in the right-hander.

Putz, who was expected to battle Addison Reed for the closer's role, has a 6.75 ERA after four spring games.

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"He's working on a lot of stuff," Gibson said. "He's trying to make some changes to some of the things he's doing. His mechanics are a little different. He's trying to use his two-seamer more. It's coming along pretty good. The four-seamer, he seems to have a little trouble right now getting the ball down. His velocity probably isn't where he wants it, but it's been there before. The thing about J.J. is he's pitched a lot games, he's been through a lot of Spring Trainings, he's saved a lot of games, and I think that when the season starts, it'll be a whole different game for him."

Putz finished 2013 strong after struggling with some injuries early in the year that set him back and bumped him out of the closer's role.

Last year Putz had a 2.36 ERA in 40 games after saving 45 games for the D-backs in 2011 and 32 in 2012.

"We've probably pushed him harder this spring," Gibson said. "Thrown more at him, but I think when the season starts he's going to be ready and he's going to be just fine."

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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