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J.J. Putz returns to Diamondbacks’ bullpen

The Arizona Diamondbacks reinstated veteran J.J. Putz from the 15-day disabled list Monday. The 36-year-old was looking forward to getting back despite not having many games left on the schedule.

“I mean I just missed playing. I missed being out there and competing with the guys so I was trying to get back as quick as I could,” said Putz Monday in the clubhouse before the D-backs’ game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. “I’m glad I get a chance to play in these last 16 or 17 games, so it’s exciting.”

Putz suffered a dislocated right little finger attempting to field a ground ball on August 23rd at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, and was put on the disabled list the next day. Putz said the injury healed once the tape came off his dislocated finger.

“Once the cut healed, all the knuckles and stuff were still pretty bruised and swollen and I think that was where most of the pain was from,” said the right-hander. “It wasn’t really the laceration, it was more the swelling in the joints and it wasn’t even the one that was dislocated, it was the middle one that was the sorest and that was the last thing we could untape. Once I was able to play long toss without any tape on there, we felt like we were pretty close.”

Putz is 3-1 with six saves and a 2.43 ERA in 35 appearances for the D-backs this season. This was his second stint on the DL, and manager Kirk Gibson said it’s nice to have him back on the field and in the clubhouse.

“Can’t hurt. I mean, he was throwing the ball good for us when he got hurt, put his hand out. Hopefully he’ll learn by that,” the skipper said Monday. “I’ll use him kind of like I did when he came back last time, real short innings, one inning would be the max but probably even shorter than that.”

Obviously there is also a heightened sense of competition whenever the Dodgers come into town. Putz was asked if it’s particularly nice to return to action for this series.

“It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, I’m just excited to be back playing this game. It’s one thing to be in the dugout rooting with the guys, but it’s another thing to be contributing and trying to get whatever we can salvage this season.”

Putz also owns a 0.57 ERA over his last 19 outings, giving up just one earned run in 15.2 innings pitched.