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Even as velocity varies, Putz still force in bullpen

PHOENIX -- When he was struggling during Spring Training, D-backs reliever J.J. Putz kept saying that when the regular season started he would be fine.

Through his first 11 relief appearances, it appears that Putz was right.

In nine of the 11 appearances, he has been unscored upon, and if you take out the three runs he allowed in one-third of an inning against the Cubs last week, his ERA would be 1.04 rather than the 4.00 it was entering Monday's series opener against the Rockies.

"I don't really put too much stock in what people say outside of my teammates and the coaching staff," Putz said of people who may have doubted he could still be effective. "I know who I am, I know what I've done and I know what I'm capable of doing. That's why guys have track records."

Putz has been getting it done with less velocity this year.

"I don't know what the answer is to the velocity thing," he said. "I know it was down last April, too, and it crept back up. I've never thought of myself as a thrower even when I threw 96 miles per hour. I always saw myself as a pitcher."

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson has been pleased with what he's seen from Putz, and with Addison Reed unavailable Saturday after throwing in three straight games, Gibson planned to use Putz for the save before the Phillies rallied in the eighth.

"I think I have a pretty handle on him," Gibson said. "He does a lot of throwing to get his arm strength up and put himself in position to be successful. I think overall his mechanics are really good. He knows where to throw the ball and how to get people out, and he's done very well for us. He's had one rocky outing, but other than that, he's been good."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.
Read More: Arizona Diamondbacks, J.J. Putz