Chicago Sun-Times
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Putz says ...

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amd_putz.jpgAt some point in his career, J.J. Putz would like to once again have that rush that getting the final three outs of a ballgame brings to a reliever.
Right now, however, the right-hander is willing to put the title of closer on hold if it means champagne showers in October.
And the way he was talking on Wednesday, Putz thinks he's on the team to do just that.
"I definitely put it in one of the elite teams in the American League,'' Putz replied, when asked about his decision to sign a one-year, $3 million free-agent deal with the White Sox last week. "They seem to have pretty much everything you're looking for - great starting pitcher, power in the backend of the bullpen. They definitely have some power in the lineup, and I think adding Juan Pierre definitely creates some havoc at the top of the order. On paper, it looks like a team that's going to be a force this year.''
The Sox are banking on the 32-year-old former closer to be another reason why.
In inking Putz, the Sox feel that games can be shortened to just six innings, with Putz, Matt Thornton and Bobby Jenks awaiting opposing lineups sometime before the seventh-inning stretch and all the way until the last out of the game.
"Obviously, we have a great closer in Bobby Jenks and a great left-handed set-up guy in Matt Thornton, so I'm thinking going into it I'll be a seventh, eighth-inning guy with the right-handers and Matt with the left-handers, trying to hand the ball to Bobby as often as we can,'' Putz assessed.
Even better news from the pitcher, however, came when his health was brought up. Putz' 2009 season was shortened because of bone spurs that had to be removed, but when asked where he was in that recovery, declared he was "probably a little bit more advanced this year than any other year.''
"In October I started doing my offseason workouts cause I knew I needed to throw for some teams,'' he continued. " I definitely feel stronger than I have in the past.''
As far as getting the chance to close like he did in Seattle a few years ago, well, first things first.
"Anybody that's closed before really cherishes the time they do get to close, and in my opinion it's the best job in baseball,'' he added. "I would like to be a closer again, but given what's happened this past season I know that's not going to happen. I'm definitely, totally fine with setting up. I'm pretty excited. Excited to be on a winning team and do pretty much what they need me to do.''

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Cowley published on December 16, 2009 5:37 PM.

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