CHICAGO -- In a more roundabout way and with much less fanfare, Zach Putnam has served as a stabilizing force for the bullpen much as Jose Abreu has done for the lineup.
Putnam had a consecutive innings scoreless streak of 10 1/3 innings, covering six appearances, snapped in the seventh inning of Saturday's 4-3 loss to Arizona. Opposing hitters are 10-for-53 against him this season, and Putnam had retired 15 straight and 24 of the last 25 hitters faced until Arizona touched him up for three hits, two walks and one run on Saturday.
Arthroscopic surgery last August to remove bone spurs on his right elbow has made as big of a difference for Putnam and his split-finger.
"That's a big part of it," Putnam said. "This is the first time in probably three years that I've felt like I can legitimately say I'm 100 percent healthy. The recovery thing is really big too.
"It was taking me a long time in between outings to feel that good again. Being able to go out back to back days or three of four days here and not feel that sharp pain in my elbow, it has been great."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.