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Jake Petricka, Zach Putnam out to reclaim bullpen roles after surgery

The White Sox bullpen suffered two blows hits last season when middle relievers Jake Petricka and Zach Putnam underwent surgery. Their absences forced the Sox to turn to a group of inexperienced relievers to try to patch the holes, with varying degrees of...

Jake Petricka, Zach Putnam out to reclaim bullpen roles after surgery

The White Sox bullpen suffered two blows hits last season when middle relievers Jake Petricka and Zach Putnam underwent surgery. Their absences forced the Sox to turn to a group of inexperienced relievers to try to patch the holes, with varying degrees of...

26 February 2017 Sunday 20:03
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 Jake Petricka, Zach Putnam out to reclaim bullpen roles after surgery

The White Sox bullpen suffered two blows hits last season when middle relievers Jake Petricka and Zach Putnam underwent surgery. Their absences forced the Sox to turn to a group of inexperienced relievers to try to patch the holes, with varying degrees of success.

But the right-handers are back at Camelback Ranch this spring to try to reclaim their roles.

Petricka made just nine appearances before he had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip in June. He is back to pitching without restrictions and said going to physical therapy twice a week throughout the offseason has kept him "on top of everything."

"We could have rushed back and been ready to play at the very end of September, but the way the season turned out, it wasn't work the risk," Petricka said. "It feels good (to be back). I got that little taste of stepping away, doing a different thing for a little bit. You forget what it's like to be a part of the locker room and part of a team."

Putnam posted a 2.30 ERA in 25 appearances last year, but he reached a point where he could no longer manage pain caused from bone fragments in his arm. He had surgery to remove them in August.

"At the point we made the decision, it was not hard because I woke up the morning after my last outing in Boston, and my elbow was swollen up the size of a water balloon," Putnam said. "I could hardly move my arm, so that was the tipping point."

Photos as the White Sox practice at spring training at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz.

The surgery meant six months of physical therapy, and he began throwing lightly again in December. He said he has thrown off the mound about 10 times over the last month and threw live batting practice Wednesday, facing hitters on a field for the first time since June 20.

"It's really nice to have a healthy arm," Putnam said. "I'm still having a little bit of residual soreness. They took a lot of stuff out of the elbow, so I think it's the body learning how to operate without that stuff in there for the first time in a while."

Slow moving: The Sox are two games into the Cactus League season, and Carlos Rodon still hasn't thrown off a mound. The left-hander continues to play long toss and said he expects to throw a bullpen in the next week.

"We have time," Rodon said. "All of this is to be ready for a long season and a bigger workload. … I'm not worried, so you guys shouldn't be worried either."

Caption Miguel Gonzalez, Jose Quintana on their 2017 Cactus League debuts

White Sox pitchers Miguel Gonzalez and Jose Quintana react after their 2017 Cactus League debuts on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, after an exhibition against the Rockies. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

White Sox pitchers Miguel Gonzalez and Jose Quintana react after their 2017 Cactus League debuts on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, after an exhibition against the Rockies. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

Caption Miguel Gonzalez, Jose Quintana on their 2017 Cactus League debuts

White Sox pitchers Miguel Gonzalez and Jose Quintana react after their 2017 Cactus League debuts on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, after an exhibition against the Rockies. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

White Sox pitchers Miguel Gonzalez and Jose Quintana react after their 2017 Cactus League debuts on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, after an exhibition against the Rockies. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

Caption White Sox second baseman Brett Lawrie on sitting out early spring games

White Sox second baseman Brett Lawrie on sitting out early spring games. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune) 

White Sox second baseman Brett Lawrie on sitting out early spring games. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune) 

Caption White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodon talks about first bullpen

White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodon avoids teammate's distracting grunts, talks about first bullpen. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodon avoids teammate's distracting grunts, talks about first bullpen. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

Caption White Sox catcher Zack Collins on his Catcus League debut

White Sox catcher and 2016 draft pick Zack Collins reacts after his Cactus League debut on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

White Sox catcher and 2016 draft pick Zack Collins reacts after his Cactus League debut on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

Caption Carson Fulmer on pitching two scoreless innings in spring opener

White Sox pitcher Carson Fulmer reacts after throwing two scoreless innings in the team's exhibition opener against the Dodgers on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

White Sox pitcher Carson Fulmer reacts after throwing two scoreless innings in the team's exhibition opener against the Dodgers on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (Colleen Kane/Chicago Tribune)

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