J.J. is healthy and happy with White Sox
Junior and J.J. wore different uniforms the last time they met before a game
The black and white uniform J.J. Putz was wearing today looked odd.
Last time I saw him, he was in the Mariners’ colors and that was the final game of the 2008 season.
Putz, traded to the Mets in December 2008, struggled through an injury-plagued season in ’09 and is now with the White Sox. He has shed about 25 pounds and is competing for a spot in the Sox ‘pen. He pitched one inning against his former team today, surrendering a hit, walk but no runs.
“It was weird seeing Ichiro standing there,” said Putz, who eventually walked Ichiro. “He kept fouling pitches off, fouling pitches off and I tried to trick him and thyrow a slider up and in, but missed the plate.”
Asked how he ended up with the White Sox, J.J. quipped “They paid the most.” He laughed and said, “Not really. It just seemed like it was a good fit. Obviously (Matt) Thornton was talking to me a lot abvout them. I had szome other offers, but overall it wasa a good fit. Arizona spring training is something I was looking for. I didn’t want to go back to Florida, and there is a good opportunity to pitch late in the game here.”
Thornton played with Putz in the Mariners organization and have remained close. Both live in this area during the offseason.
Thornton is a key member of the Sox bullpen and Putz said the ‘pen id deep enough, “no one will get abused” adding that he wanted to return to the American League.
“The National League is a different game and hard to adjust to, especially if not the closer,” he said. “A setup man never really knows when he is going to pitch.”
Injuries pretty much wiped out his only season with the Mets, but he says he feels fine now.
As for the Mariners, he said, “I loved Seattle and if I was a (Mariners) fan, I would be very excited about what they did during the offseason. Having Ichiro and Figgins at the top of the lineup in no fun.”
— Jim Street