Putnam ready to relieve relievers

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
8:05
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- New Chicago White Sox reliever Zach Putnam rolled into the clubhouse only three hours before first pitch Thursday, and he was one of the early ones.

After Wednesday's 14-inning, 5-hour 17-minute affair against the Boston Red Sox, manager Robin Ventura didn't require his players to arrive until 5 p.m. Fresh from the airport, Putnam practically had the place to himself for a little while.

The marathon game Wednesday was the reason bullpen help was needed. Daniel Webb threw 59 pitches Wednesday and was not available Thursday. Donnie Veal, who has struggled with his control so far, is now out of the picture after being designated for assignment.

Putnam, who got the call in the middle of the night that he would be heading to Chicago, is prepared to play quickly.

"I'm ready to go," said Putnam, who last pitched for Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday. "Nobody has said anything, but I'm ready to go and for as many [innings] as they need. I know they're taxed, so I'm going to try to give them whatever I can."

Having been called up for short stints with three different teams over the past three years, Putnam knows what to expect. But he remains relatively inexperienced with only 15 major league appearances and 12T innings to his credit.

In 2011, he pitched in eight games with the Cleveland Indians, a year later it was two games with the Colorado Rockies and last year he made five appearances with the Chicago Cubs.

In a White Sox bullpen struggling with control (38 walks to lead the American League), Putnam knows that this major-league stint can be longer if he can find the stroke zone.

"As a pitcher, it doesn't matter what your role is, trying to throw strikes, get ahead in the count is Step 1 to success, so that's going to be what I'll try to do tonight, or when I get in there," he said.

The bullpen appeared to take a turn for the better with a solid showing in a victory Tuesday, but neither Ronald Belisario nor Matt Lindstrom pitched that night. Every reliever pitched Wednesday, including utility man Leury Garcia, and the bullpen had 11 walks (nine not counting Garcia's numbers).

"After [Tuesday] night, you thought it was getting back on track," Ventura said. "If you judged it on last night you wouldn't be happy about it. I wouldn't see it like that every night. They're going to grind. You look at the guys who are out there and eventually they will get the job done."

Doug Padilla

Chicago White Sox beat reporter
Doug joined ESPN Chicago in July 2010 and covers the Chicago White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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BA LEADER
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RBIJ. Abreu 107
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OPSJ. Abreu .964
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