J.J. Putz signed on to be the Diamondbacks’ closer with a two-year, $10 million deal this offseason, but the veteran right-hander won’t make his spring training debut until March 7 despite nothing being wrong with him physically.
Arizona manager Kirk Gibson explained to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com that Putz will focus on building up his arm strength with bullpen sessions and long toss while likely only logging a total of around eight innings of actual game action. “Different people like to do it different ways,” Gibson said.
Putz threw 8.1 innings for the White Sox last spring and went on to have a fantastic season in a setup role, posting a 2.83 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 54 innings. If healthy, he’s one of the main reasons why I think the Diamondbacks are very capable of out-performing their low expectations this season.
Nathan Eovaldi hasn’t pitched in a month due to right elbow inflammation, but he told Chad Jennings of the Journal News today that he expects to pitch out of the bullpen if the Yankees advance to the ALDS against the Royals.
Eovaldi was originally expected to throw a 35-pitch bullpen session today, but the Yankees moved up his timetable after the news that CC Sabathia was checking into alcohol rehab. Instead, he threw 10 pitches in a bullpen session before facing hitters for the first time since his injury.
There isn’t enough time for Eovaldi to get stretched out to start during the ALDS, but he could still play an important role for the Yankees, especially with Adam Warren looking like the most likely option to replace Sabathia in the rotation.
Yadier Molina suffered a mild ligament tear in his left thumb on September 20, but the Cardinals announced Monday that they remain “optimistic” he’ll be on the roster for the upcoming NLDS.
Molina visited a hand specialist Monday and Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that he’ll have a custom splint built in hopes that he’ll be able to hit and catch. He’s still not 100 percent, but even a limited Molina could be better than the alternative. That would be Tony Cruz in this case.
The Cardinals will meet the winner of Wednesday’s Wild Card game between the Cubs and the Pirates. Game 1 of the NLDS will take place Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET in St. Louis.