MIAMI -- D-backs closer J.J. Putz has not appeared in a game for over a week, but that doesn't mean the right-hander hasn't thrown.
In fact, Putz has thrown. A lot. Just in the bullpen.
Entering Monday, the closer last got into a game on April 22, when he saved a 6-4 win over the Braves. In the six games since, he's warmed up almost each game.
"Too many times," manager Kirk Gibson said about Putz warming and not getting used. "That's been unfortunate. [His arm is] probably hanging on. I'm afraid to talk to him today."
What's the big deal about warming up? Well, consider Putz's answer when asked what the difference is as far as the toll it takes on an arm to warm up as opposed to pitching in a game.
"It's pretty much the same," Putz said. "Once you get hot, it's the same no matter whether you get in or not."
That's why Gibson usually likes to get his pitcher in the game if he warms up, but with a closer, it's a little trickier.
Take Sunday's 8-4 win over the Marlins. It was 8-1 heading into the ninth before Miami scored three runs off Mike Zagurski. Bryan Shaw came in and walked the first batter he faced, so Gibson got Putz up just in case, because the Marlins were a home run away from having the tying run on deck.
Shaw retired pinch-hitter Austin Kearns to end the game, but Putz had already gotten warm.
"He's thrown a lot in the bullpen," Gibson said. "It's part of it. You're in games, you've got to get your guys up. He'll dig through it, but it's not ideal so far."
Putz said his arm feels good and that the times he's had to warm up have at least helped keep him sharp despite not getting into a game in a while.
Feeling ill, Kubel a late scratch from lineup
MIAMI -- D-backs left fielder Jason Kubel was scratched from the starting lineup Monday with what the team said was an illness.
Kubel has been on a roll for Arizona, having hit safely in 11 of his past 12 games at a .404 clip.
He has also been impressive defensively, as he leads National League outfielders with six assists this year.
Gerardo Parra got the start in Kubel's place.
Gibson not getting caught in Harper hype
MIAMI -- After Monday's series finale, the D-backs head to Washington, where they will open a three-game series the Nationals on Tuesday.
The series will mark the home debut for Nationals rookie sensation Bryce Harper, and there figures to be plenty of attention paid to that.
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson, though, has other things on his mind.
"I'm interested in seeing how I can get him out, just like all the rest of the guys that are going to be playing," Gibson said.
While he has not yet seen a scouting report on Harper, Gibson has seen plenty of him.
"He's very talented from what I hear," Gibson said. "I've watched him on TV. They show every at-bat on TV, so you can't miss it. [He's a] big strong kid, tough, ran into the wall. I think he gives them some more offense. We'll go over how we try and get him out. Looks like he's got a pretty good arm, as well."
Gibson knows a little bit about being a hyped rookie. His manager with the Tigers, Sparky Anderson, billed him as the next Mickey Mantle when he came to the Majors.
"[He's only] 19 years old," Gibson said of Harper being in the big leagues already. "Wow. That's pretty impressive."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.