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Putz excited for new role with D-backs' front office

Former reliever now special assistant to president/CEO
MLB.com

PHOENIX -- As his phone would buzz, Derrick Hall would look and see that he had a text message from J.J. Putz, and the D-backs' team president and CEO would smile knowing exactly what it was going to say.

"He's like a caged animal because he's texted me every night, 'Can I come to work tomorrow?'" Hall said. "No, not yet, we don't have the contract signed."

PHOENIX -- As his phone would buzz, Derrick Hall would look and see that he had a text message from J.J. Putz, and the D-backs' team president and CEO would smile knowing exactly what it was going to say.

"He's like a caged animal because he's texted me every night, 'Can I come to work tomorrow?'" Hall said. "No, not yet, we don't have the contract signed."

Putz now has a signed contract that makes him special assistant to the president/CEO.

Since 2011, Hall and Putz have talked about the right-hander coming to work for the organization once his playing career was over.

Putz's 12-year career came to an end this past season when the D-backs released him June 26. He finished with 189 career saves.

Hampered by injuries in 2013 and 2014, Putz initially hoped to hook on with another team and continue his career, but as time went on and the phone didn't ring, he changed his mind.

"Probably sometime in like August after being home for a month," Putz said of when he decided to retire. "Just being around the kids and not really having to be anywhere at any time, that pretty much sealed the deal for me."

It also started a series of phone calls and texts between Putz and Hall about how he could rejoin the organization, this time in the front office rather than on the field.

Putz will make appearances on behalf of the D-backs, interacting with corporate sponsors and fans, much like former D-backs outfielder Luis Gonzalez, who is also a special assistant to Hall.

Putz's role will not be limited strictly to the business side of things, however. He will also assist as needed in the baseball operations department and could serve as an instructor during Spring Training.

One of his duties that most excites Putz will be when he travels during the summer to visit the D-backs' Minor League teams.

"It was something that I thought helped me tremendously coming up," Putz said of having former Major Leaguers speak to him. "We had Norm Charlton and Chris Bosio with the Mariners all the time and just literally talked about anything. I felt like every time those guys left town, I felt like I got better even though I didn't throw a baseball with them, so hopefully that's something I can do to help."

Hall said it's even possible Putz might sit in the bullpen during a game when he visits the Minor Leaguers so he can point out ways they can better get ready.

"Pitching is such an emphasis for us," Hall said. "And we have so many relief prospects throughout the system."

As for his future, Putz said he does not ever see himself coaching, but a long-term future in the front office is a definite possibility.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com.

Arizona Diamondbacks, J.J. Putz