Putz, Jenks satisfied with simulated work
White Sox relievers iron out mechanics on back fields
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As simulated Spring Training games go, J.J. Putz gave Wednesday's effort at Camelback Ranch the highest of marks.
"I had a goal and I accomplished it. Get through it," said Putz, sitting back in his clubhouse chair, flashing a broad smile when talking about Wednesday's work.
"It's just part of it. It's a good time of the spring for one of those, getting your mechanics ironed out. I didn't hit anyone, which is always a bonus. I usually hit someone. But I really thought it went well."
Putz was joined by closer Bobby Jenks during Wednesday's simulated action, with pitching coach Don Cooper overseeing the whole thing. They were moved from Cactus League action to work on mechanics issues, as Putz stated, not to mention specific pitches and specific pitches in particular counts, as an example.
Jenks threw a similar side session on Monday, with going easy on his balky right calf standing as part of the reason for the move to the back fields. The calf didn't really factor into Wednesday's simulated game, and Jenks felt just as good as he did two days ago.
"When I was out there today, I felt game ready as far as mechanically sound and being mentally and physically ready," Jenks said. "What we wanted to do the second time around was instead of just trying to go hitter by hitter, let's throw in a count and be able to hit spots like it matters. It felt as good as last time. Just not so much out there for my calf, but just to get better and work on mechanics and location."
If Jenks needs more work on specific facets of his pitching repertoire, then the closer could see another spring simulated game. Otherwise, he will be back in Cactus League action, most likely this Saturday after two days off.
Concerns about Jenks' velocity, briefly raised by Cooper and manager Ozzie Guillen last weekend in Las Vegas, were not discussed Wednesday by Jenks. He rarely addressed questions on this topic last season.
The velocity doesn't matter as much as simply feeling good overall for the accomplished Jenks, who will have back-to-back games to throw in on his agenda before Spring Training comes to a close.
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"As long as I'm healthy and mechanically fine, I'll be good to go," Jenks said. "Now we are mechanically fixed and ready, so I'll focus on the glove, focus on the hitters now toward the end of spring."
While Jenks has grown weary of talking about velocity, Putz probably feels the same way in regard to ongoing questions about his health following season-ending elbow surgery in 2009. Putz joked that he's currently at "89.4 percent" and feels stronger with each outing.
Brett Fischer, who runs Fischer Sports Physical Therapy in Phoenix, was given credit by Putz for the tough work he put the reliever through during the offseason to have him ready for the 2010 campaign. For the next two weeks, Putz is focused on building up arm strength and then fine-tuning command over his last two or three outings.
"At this point in Spring Training, I feel better now than I have in a long time," Putz said. "The work I put in with Brett Fischer at his place, from top to bottom, I feel stronger head to toe, at every muscle group. Body-wise, I feel great.
"With the money we spent to go there, I hoped it would work," Putz said with a smile of the work with Fischer. "Going through the workouts there, seeing what we were doing and how we were feeling on the way home, absolutely exhausted. I was hoping this was how I would feel."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.