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Diamondbacks GM: ‘Putz key to bullpen’

Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers seems much more relaxed recently, and he sure deserves to be.

A team last year that was one of baseball’s punching bags has become a contender in every game they play. The D-backs have won eight of their last nine and are 12-8 so far in May and have hit the magic .500 mark that seemed out of reach the last few seasons.

Towers said the bullpen has been a factor in why the Diamondbacks are enjoying so much success as of late.

“I think the key to it was getting that guy at the end, J.J. [Putz],” Towers said. “Having him at the ninth inning, a guy that had experience doing that, [who] wants to be out there in the ninth thrives on those situations.”

Putz has been a force when closing games and could be headed to the All-Star game. He is 0-1 on the season, but that stat betrays his 1.89 ERA in 18 games and his 12 saves. Putz has had help from a consistent bullpen as well, who are all settling into their defined rolls, something that didn’t happen last season.

Pitchers Sam Demel, Aaron Heilman and Esmerling Vasquez were credited by Towers for giving Manager Kirk Gibson some room to play with, especially late in the game.