SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs closer J.J. Putz will make his Spring Training debut March 5 against Team Mexico.

The tentative schedule calls for Putz to pitch in nine games.

Putz typically takes things slowly during the spring, preferring at times to work in Minor League games or utilize bullpen sessions to better work on his split-finger fastball.

Two springs ago, his debut was scheduled to be in mid-March, but he then injured his back and the team scrambled to get him into two Cactus League games and one final game against a Mexican League team at Chase Field.

Last season, he got into six Cactus League games.

Montero nursing mysterious injured thumb

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Miguel Montero on Tuesday missed a second straight game with a swollen right thumb.

Exactly what is wrong with the D-backs catcher's thumb is not clear. Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said there was a splinter in there, but Montero said that when the training staff drained the puss out of it Monday, they could not find anything in there.

"Hopefully he can play [Wednesday]," Gibson said. "It's much better. It looked like it might be getting infected yesterday, so we've been treating that for that, and it seems like it's been calming down."

Montero said the thumb began to hurt a bit over the weekend, and Sunday night it became very painful.

"It came out of nowhere," Montero said. "I don't know what happened."

For Kennedy, third Opening Day start no less thrilling

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Given the news by manager Kirk Gibson that he would be making his third Opening Day start, Ian Kennedy did not take the news in stride.

"I don't think it ever gets old," Kennedy said. "It's still a really, really cool thing. I always say, when you're a kid you see the Opening Day starters and you want to be them one day. It's really awesome to be told that."

Kennedy has started the past two Opening Days for the D-backs. Prior to that, he said he had never pitched in an opener at any level. He figures to be more comfortable in the role the third time around.

"I think it was a little less nerves [last year] than the first time," Kennedy said. "I think it might get a little easier, but you still get nervous because it's the first game and they always have something special before the game."

The D-backs open against the Cardinals on April 1 at Chase Field.

That matchup could prove to be a little problematic in the Kennedy household. Kennedy's wife, Allison, is from St. Louis, and both of her parents are Cardinals fans. They figure to be in town for the game.

"They support the Diamondbacks, but their heart belongs to the Cardinals," Kennedy said. "So I don't know if they'll stay at our house. They better be rooting for us. I always tell them when they come out that they cannot wear any Cardinals stuff."