The Diamondbacks had the luxury of mixing up the strong starting rotation this offseason, and were even more fortunate to obtain players to strengthen the bullpen.
Closer J.J. Putz is confident the pitching staff, specifically the relievers, is ready to do their jobs.
“I think we’ll be just fine out there. Guys have their roles set, and it’s nice when you have roles,” Putz told Arizona Sport 620’s Burns and Gambo on Friday. “The phone rings, you know who’s going to be answering that call.”
Among those who will be answering those calls are returners Joe Paterson and David Hernandez.
Paterson was used as middle relief pitcher last year while Hernandez came in as the eighth inning set-up man for Putz to finish games.
Joining them are Craig Breslow, Brad Ziegler and Bryan Shaw.
But one who Putz is specifically interested to see take the mound is Takashi Saito.
Last season, Saito tallied a 2.03 ERA as a member of Milwaukee’s bullpen, and has a stellar 2.18 career ERA. However, Saito will start the season on the disabled list with a right calf strain.
“I think it’s unfortunate Sammy [Saito] has to start on the DL,” Putz said. “He’s the kind of guy that can save a bullpen by being able to eat up some innings. It will be interesting once Sammy’s back, but we’ll worry about that when the time comes.”
Even with all the improvements made with the relief pitchers in the offseason, Putz said the starters will be just as exceptional as last season to make the bullpen’s job easier.
“It’s a great group. I’d put those guys up against anybody,” Putz said. “They work their butts off in between starts, they’re extremely competitive when they’re out there on the mound, and I would expect nothing less than that again this year.”