Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz hoping to return next week

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Out since late June with elbow tendinitis, J.J. Putz threw one inning in an extended spring training game yesterday and is hoping to rejoin the Diamondbacks’ bullpen early next week.

Kirk Gibson indicated that Putz will resume closing right away, but the manager told Anthony Fenech of MLB.com that he wants to see the injured right-hander work back-to-back days before coming off the disabled list.

Putz is expected to pitch Friday and Saturday at Triple-A, so barring a setback he could be cleared to return as soon as Monday.

In his absence David Hernandez has converted 7-of-7 save chances while allowing zero runs and Putz blew four saves in June before finally being shut down, so it would make sense for the Diamondbacks to ease him back into the closer role regardless of his ability to pitch on consecutive days.

Putz, who signed a two-year, $10 million deal as a free agent this offseason, converted 16-of-16 save chances with a 1.57 ERA through the end of May before his elbow starting barking again.

Umpire ejects Adrian Beltre for moving on-deck circle

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As far as ejections go, this is one of the stranger ones you’ll hear about. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was ejected in the bottom of the eighth inning of a game his team trailed at the time 18-6. Beltre was a few feet away from the circle towards home plate and was asked by Marlins pitcher Drew Steckenrider to get into the circle. So rather than step a few feet back to his right, Beltre picked up the circle and dragged it to where he was. And that got him ejected by second base umpire Gerry Davis. Manager Jeff Banister was also ejected after having a word with Davis.

Here’s a video from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Beltre, by the way, went 3-for-3 with a walk, a pair of doubles, and a solo home run. He’s now four hits away from 3,000 for his career.

Video: Phillies prospect J.P. Crawford hits an inside-the-park grand slam

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Phillies shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford’s stock has fallen sharply this season. He had an abysmal first three months, batting .203/.321/.276 in 291 plate appearances. Baseball America rated him the 12th overall prospect in baseball going into the season and rated him No. 92 in their midseason top 100. It was bad.

Since the calendar turned to July, however, Crawford has been more like his normal self. In 92 at-bats this month entering Wednesday night’s action, he was hitting .300/.391/.650 with six home runs, 13 RBI, 18 runs scored, and a terrific 15/12 K/BB ratio.

Crawford padded his stats more on Wednesday night as he circled the bases for an inside-the-park grand slam. Via the IronPigs Twitter:

Crawford was actually dead-to-rights at home, but he fooled the catcher with a great late slide.

Crawford finished 1-for-3 with a walk along with the slam on the night as the IronPigs beat the Gwinnett Braves 8-2.