J.J. Putz injury: Diamondbacks closer beginning rehab assignment

Christian Petersen

Putz is scheduled to throw for Triple-A Reno on Thursday and Saturday, and could rejoin the D'Backs by next week if all goes well.

Arizona Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz joined the club's Triple-A affiliate in Reno on Tuesday and is set to begin his injury rehab assignment on Thursday, reports Steve Gilbert of MLB.com.

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Putz, 36, has been sidelined since May 8 with a strained right elbow. His rehab assignment calls for him to pitch Thursday and Saturday, then throw in back-to-back games on Monday and Tuesday so long as he doesn't experience any discomfort in his elbow over the weekend.

If his four appearances with the Aces go well, Putz could rejoin the D'Backs bullpen late next week. Whether or not he'll immediately return to his role as closer, however, remains up in the air. Heath Bell was promoted to the closer role in Putz's absence, and has actually performed reasonably well, posting a 3.52 ERA and converting 11 of 12 save opportunities.

Manager Kirk Gibson said that the club's primary focus is getting Putz healthy, and that the team is taking a "wait and see approach" with regards to the closer decision. Putz owns a 4.26 ERA in 14 appearances on the year, and had blown four of his nine save opportunities before hitting the DL.

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