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Elbow problems send Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz to DL

Diamondbacks Spring Baseball

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher J.J. Putz throws during baseball spring training Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011, near Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Pat Shannahan) ** MAGS OUT NO SALES MARICOPA COUNTY OUT **


Despite an outstanding track record that includes a dominant season for the White Sox last year J.J. Putz was available to the Diamondbacks at a relative discount this offseason because of his injury history.

Putz provided a great early return on Arizona’s two-year, $10 million investment, converting all 16 save chances with a 1.45 ERA through the end of May, but he blew four saves in June as his ERA doubled and now he’s been placed on the disabled list with elbow tendinitis.

David Hernandez has pitched well in a setup role and certainly has closer-caliber raw stuff, with a mid-90s fastball and 41 strikeouts in 37 innings, so the Diamondbacks should feel fairly confident turning to him as a ninth inning fill-in. The rest of the bullpen hasn’t been nearly as strong, however, and moving everyone else up one rung on the relief hierarchy could lead to some issues.

If you take out Putz and Hernandez, the rest of the Diamondbacks’ bullpen has a 4.32 ERA.