J.J. Putz cleared to begin rehab assignment

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Five weeks after being placed on the disabled list with a strained elbow Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz has been cleared to begin a minor-league rehab assignment Thursday at Triple-A.

According to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com the plan is for Putz to pitch Thursday and Saturday, take Sunday off, and then try to work back-to-back games on Monday and Tuesday. If that all goes well, he’d likely come off the disabled list in the middle of next week.

Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson avoided saying that Putz would be handed the closer job once healthy, leaving the door open due to Heath Bell converting 11 of 12 save chances in his absence.