PHOENIX -- A small mechanical change has paid off in a big way for D-backs closer J.J. Putz.
One day after allowing four runs against the Cardinals on May 9, Putz said pitching coach Charles Nagy noticed that he was coming set with his hands differently.
That caused Putz to fly open during his delivery causing his command to suffer. He blames the incorrect mechanics on the cut fastball he tried to master in Spring Training and use early in the season.
"I feel like shortly after 'Nags' found this little mechanical thing, things have been a lot better," Putz said. "Just more consistent within the strike zone with quality pitches."
The numbers agree with that assessment. In his 18 games since that outing against the Cardinals, Putz has a 2.00 ERA.
Putz has been even better over his past six games, tossing six scoreless innings.
"I basically had to build up to be back to normal arm slot," Putz said of the mechanical adjustment. "It's felt like over the last month, month-and-a-half, I've been throwing the ball the way I should be throwing. The velocity has come back."
Gibson seeks balance with Parra, Young
PHOENIX -- One day after coming up with a key two-run double in the D-backs' win over the Dodgers, outfielder Gerardo Parra found himself back on the bench as manager Kirk Gibson tries to find the right balance of playing time for his outfielders.
Parra had lots of playing time earlier this season during center fielder Chris Young's stint on the disabled list, and Parra has been getting more starts in center recently.
"Parra's played a ton of games, gotten a ton of at-bats," Gibson said. "He's played at times, he's sat at times. C.Y. has struggled as of late so I've played [Parra] more. The thing about Parra is he has enthusiasm regardless of whether he's playing or not. He's a great teammate. He's always chirping. He chirps at the other team, too. He says some things, kind of challenges people. He's not scared."
Parra is hitting .276 with six homers and 25 RBIs while Young is hitting .202 with eight homers and 19 RBIs.
"I know he's going to play," Gibson said of Parra. "Can I lay it out and say he's going to play three days and C.Y. is going to play two? I can't lay it out, you've just got to look ahead and see what your matchups are, see how guys are swinging, playing. If he's playing better and makes us a better team to win, then he'll play."