The Ghost of Aaron Heilman Lives on in J.J. Putz

ed feverCorrespondent IJune 2, 2009

Aaron Heilman was the Mets' first round pick with a devastating change-up and funky arm angle that made him a dominant set-up man in parts of 2005 and 2006.

But Heilman became the big tease. He would make batters look silly at times with his off-speed pitches, and then get knocked around for a week at a time. Eventually Mets' fans demanded his trade and the organization complied prior to the season.
In return for Heilman, along with a huge package of players exchanging between three teams, the Mets received J.J. Putz. The former Seattle closer was said to have a devastating splitter and it was believed that the eighth inning would be essentially locked-down with Putz in the 'pen.
At times Putz has lived up to his reputation and made hitters look silly with dominant stuff, but just as his predecessor did, Putz has compiled more bad outings than good.
His struggles have been blamed on a bevy of problems, from a lack of adrenaline due to not closing to minor injuries and mechanics.
After getting bombed by the Marlins yesterday, Putz convinced the staff he figured out his mechanical issues, during an early bullpen session. After last night, there was no way I would have used him, but Manuel chose to give his set-up man another chance and he turned around to single handily lose the game.
In two outings, in which he's recorded just one out, against very weak teams in the Marlins and Pirates, he's allowed five hits, six runs and three walks.
While J.J. swears he isn't injured, he struggled to throw the ball to Schneider during an intentional walk and Jon Heyman at his Twitter seems to disagree.
“The bottom line is we have to win ballgames,” he said. “As beat up as we are, right now every game counts and every game is magnified in the win-loss column right now.” source NJ.com

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