SYDNEY -- It was not unexpected, but D-backs manager Kirk Gibson made it official on Thursday when he said that Addison Reed would be his closer, instead of J.J. Putz.
"It's going to be Addison Reed," Gibson said, while standing on the field at Sydney Cricket Ground. "He had a good year last year, he's throwing the ball good this spring and I think that's the best way to go right now."
Reed was the closer for the White Sox the past two seasons, saving 29 games in 2012 and 40 last season. A third-round pick by the White Sox in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, Reed was 5-4 with a 3.79 ERA last season, before the D-backs acquired him in December for third-base prospect Matt Davidson.
"When I came over here, that's what I wanted to do," Reed said of closing out games. "That's what I've been doing for the last two years. Like I've said growing up, that's the only thing I've ever wanted to do. That's kind of awesome that they are putting their trust in me and believing in what I can do in the ninth inning. I'm ready for it and hopefully these next two games I'll be out there in the ninth inning."
When the D-backs acquired Reed, it was assumed that he would become the closer, but the team said there would be a competition between Reed and Putz this spring.
"I love the competition," Reed said. "If I'm in the league for 10 years and I'm closing all 10 years I want to come into that 11th season fighting for that ninth-inning job. I don't ever want it given to me. I want to bring it every single time when I go out there. I want to earn it every single year."
Putz has not had a good spring and Gibson said Thursday that he will work on getting Putz back to throwing the way he did towards the end of last season by pitching him in lower leverage situations at first.
"Last year he struggled and we kind of slowed him down a little bit and gave him a little build up," Gibson said. "So we'll start the season the same way it looks like. You want to be able to lean on a [closer] two or three days in a row if you have do that and I just don't think J.J. is ready for that right now."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.