Sunday, May 11, 2014

Short Stay Sunday: Zach Putnam

It's been one week since you looked at me...

Or, rather, one week since I've looked at Wrigley Roster Jenga. Sorry that you now have Barenaked Ladies stuck in your head though.

This is what happens when you move and your Internet service is going through growing pains, or your apartment complex has lead walls - one of the two.

But, no matter; let's get right back at it.

Last night, my girlfriend and I chaperoned a children's charity outing to the White Sox game.  Now, I love free baseball, no matter what side of town it's being played on, and I'm always willing to volunteer some time to a good cause.

In yesterday's game, I learned two things: 1) The South Side offense is almost as anemic as the North Side, almost 2) this guy is back in the Major Leagues:

I'm not going to lie, I didn't even know he was still in organized baseball at all.

This journeyman reliever (pictured in his college days) has played with Cleveland, Colorado and  the White Sox, but I'll always remember him for his time as a Cub.  He wasn't here for long though, hence his appearance on Short Stay Sunday.

A fifth round draft pick by the Indians in 2008, the power reliever made his major league debut there in 2011.  He lasted 8 games, giving up 5 runs in 7.1 innings.  Unimpressed, the Tribe traded Putnam to the Rockies for Kevin Slowey in the offseason.

With the Rockies, he was completely unscored upon in all of his appearances.  Unfortunately for Zach, that was only 2 innings stretched across 2 games.  That's a bit strange, since the Rockies were almost single-handedly responsible for keeping relievers employed.  13 pitchers made 15 or more appearances out of the bullpen in 2012.

At the end of the year, the Rockies tried to sneak him through waivers; the Cubs were perched and waiting.  They took him and then, when he became a free agent, signed him on Christmas Day.  As a Cubs fan, this gift was sorta like that generic off-brand toy that your aunt bought on the way to your house at the last minute.

 Look! Darth Vader has Sammy Sosa disease!
Image courtesy of

Like said toy, Zach broke almost immediately after the Cubs got him.  He was called up to the bigs around Memorial Day.  After 5 appearances, he found himself on the disabled list with elbow problems.

Not that it was a huge loss.  After a three pitch, scoreless 1/3 inning in his debut, Putnam gave up 4 ER on 6 hits in just 1 inning against the Diamondbacks and it was all downhill from there.

After hitting the DL, he underwent surgery to remove bone spurs in his pitching elbow.  Zach later admitted that he had been pitching through pain for quite a while.  Thus, his performance on the North Side.

Jeff Samardzija James Russell Zach Putnam pitching in spring training, 2013.

I thought that this marked the end of his career.  The road to stardom is littered with pitchers in Zach's predicament.  But, as it turns out, he signed with the White Sox in the offseason (which I failed to notice) and has now become a key member of their bullpen.  Drat.

In fact, he even pitched 2 perfect innings at Wrigley, getting the win in relief against the Cubs in the Crosstown Cup.  The Cubs just can't catch a break.

I wish Zach all the best, despite my bitterness.  After all, I'm only bitter because I wish he were a part of the other Chicago bullpen, the one that couldn't hold a lead if it had handles on it that were soaked in super glue.


As for this card itself, it comes from Upper Deck's 2010 World of Sports set.  It shows him pitching for the University of Michigan... 2 years after he had already been in professional baseball.  But, I'll cut them some slack, as UD was still trying to figure out what to do with their baseball cards after losing their MLB license and the trouble surrounding their unlicensed 2009 set.

But, I do enjoy cards that depict MLB players in their bush league days, so one that goes all the way back to their collegiate days is even cooler!

Side note -  I hope Zach washes his hat more often now, look at those sweaty salt deposits!

At that, I must be on my way.  I'll be back tomorrow with Old as Moses Monday - I shan't be disappearing for weeks on end anymore as I think I finally have my internet kinks straightened out.

However, since you have probably had this stuck in your head throughout the entire post:

Good luck with those lyrics though!

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