PHOENIX — With the roof open, exposing Chase Field to full sunlight and temperatures exceeding 100 degrees, J.J. Putz threw 24 pitches in a simulated game, the latest step in his comeback from forearm tightness.
“Well, you can’t get much worse conditions,” the Diamondbacks’ 37-year-old reliever said on Friday. “The nice thing is that you got good and loose. I’m sure we’re going to play games when it’s hot outside, so it’s just part of it.”
Putz added he was “full go,” throwing all of his pitches.
“I thought it went well. Threw some good pitches. Split was a little inconsistent, but other than that, mixed it up well,” he said standing at his locker inside the clubhouse. “I’m encouraged by it. I felt good about it.”
So, too, did manager Kirk Gibson, who watched from behind home plate, shielded by the batting practice cage alongside pitching coach Mike Harkey and pitching consultant Dave Duncan.
“His fastball command is what you’re interested in,” Gibson said. “Thought he got a little tired at the end, but overall, for the first time on the mound, I thought he did pretty good.”
Putz was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 4. Prior to that, he had made 13 relief appearances, going 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA (6 ER in 10.0 IP), six walks and 12 strikeouts.
Gibson said the plan is for Putz to throw another simulated game on Monday morning at Salt River Fields and then if all goes well, he’ll throw back-to-back games in a rehab assignment on Thursday and Friday.
“We expect that he’ll be fine, but you never know,” Gibson said. “He might show up with some soreness.”
Putz, in the last year of a contract that pays him $7 million, expected he would need some time before returning to the active roster.
“Yeah, I’ll probably have to throw a couple of games,” he said before having had a chance to speak to Gibson. “I think that’ll be beneficial.”