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D-backs’ Putz gets vote of confidence from Gibson

J.J. Putz was one of the biggest reasons why the Arizona
Diamondbacks transformed from a last place team in 2009
and 2010 into a division champion.

Putz registered a career-high 45 saves a season ago, and
was nearly unhittable following the All-Star break when he
converted all 24 of his opportunities and posted a
minuscule 0.77 ERA.

This season has been a different story for Putz. He’s
already blown three saves, including one Tuesday night
against the Dodgers, and his ERA is 7.20.

With the D-backs’ deficit seemingly growing by the day
(it’s at 11.5 games entering Wednesday night’s series
finale against the Dodgers), there is some speculation
that manager Kirk Gibson could pull the trigger on a
change at the closer position, inserting David Hernandez
as the ninth inning fireman.

Gibson squelched such talk Wednesday.

“He’s our closer and nothing’s changed,” Gibson said.
“Simple as that.

“I was just out there on the field with all the relievers.
It’s not just J.J.”

That was evident Tuesday, when Brad Ziegler and Craig
Breslow failed to record an out during a five-run 7th
inning for Los Angeles that allowed them to tie the game
at 6-6. They won 8-7 on Ivan DeJesus’ two-run double in
the 9th off of Putz.

Arizona Sports Charlie Feinerman contributed to this
report