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Gibson not declaring closer, at least not yet

Battle between Reed, Putz for full-time designation continues an inning at a time

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When the D-backs acquired Addison Reed from the White Sox in December, it was widely assumed that he would be the team's closer.

The D-backs, though, said there would be a competition for the role this spring between Reed and J.J. Putz.

Whether Putz has since done enough to change the equation is not clear.

"We really haven't discussed that part of it," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said when asked about the closer completion before Thursday's game. "The usual guys that we were talking about in the beginning are all in play. I don't know that we've exactly talked about what's going to happen against the Dodgers at this point."

Given players with track records like Reed's and Putz's, teams will seldom put much stock in Spring Training statistics. Rather, most important is how the team feels the players are throwing and what their stuff looks like.

Putz has allowed one run in three innings spread over three appearances.

Initially slated to throw in a game Monday, Putz instead threw a light side session in order to work on a little mechanical issue.

On Tuesday, he allowed a run on two hits to the Padres in Peoria, but he was able to keep the ball on the ground, which bodes well for his chances.

"The other day he gave up some hits, but he got four ground balls," Gibson said. "We're just trying to get him to spot his fastball, start to throw off his fastball more. He gets ahead in the count, his split becomes more effective. He made some mechanical adjustments, and it seemed like overall he executed pretty well."

Putz worked a scoreless inning Thursday, though he did hit a batter and allow a hit and a walk.

"It's still a work in progress," Putz said of his mechanical adjustment. "It's been coming along. I think I'm going in the right direction."

Reed, meanwhile, has allowed one run on four hits in three innings spread over three appearances. He is next scheduled to pitch Friday against the A's.

"He's thrown the ball well," Gibson said.

Reed was unhappy with himself Tuesday when he walked the leadoff batter of his inning against the Padres.

The runner eventually came around to score on a looping single to right.

"I've felt good," Reed said. "There's definitely things I know I could work on. Health-wise, body feels great, arm feels awesome, but obviously there are some pitches I've thrown in different situations that I wasn't too pleased with. Fastball location I feel has been decent. I missed up a couple times and given up a couple of hits on high fastballs. Offspeed pitches -- still getting a feel for it. It's still early in spring, but I know it will come. I kind of feel like where I'm at right now is where I expected to be, so I think everything is going as planned."

What Gibson has planned for the closer's role remains to be seen.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks, J.J. Putz, Addison Reed