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As predicted, Putz leaves struggles in spring

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DENVER -- D-backs reliever J.J. Putz maintained throughout the spring that he felt better than his subpar numbers indicated.

So far this season, the right-hander's faith in himself seems to be well placed.

Through his first three appearances of the regular season, Putz had not allowed a hit in 2 1/3 innings.

"My arm feels great," Putz said. "It's a matter of repeating my mechanics and being able to repeat pitches."

Putz's velocity is not what it has been in the past, but it is up from where it was at times during the spring. The key, as it is with every pitcher, is location, and so far that's been good for him.

D-backs general manager Kevin Towers has said he thinks the club will use Putz as their eighth-inning setup man for closer Addison Reed.

"I think his velocity is a little bit better," Towers said. "I think his command has been better than it was early in the spring. He's got the good split. He's a veteran. If his location is on and he's spotting his pitches and with his split, he can get middle-of-the-order hitters out."

While he has tweaked his mechanics, Putz has not changed his approach.

"Clearly, I don't throw as hard as I did back five years ago," he said. "But I think I'm the same kind of pitcher. I still go after guys. I try to get ahead and put them away with my split."

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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