CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today claimed right-handed pitcher Zach Putnam off waivers from the Colorado Rockies.
Putnam, 25, is 19-12 with 26 saves and a 3.90 ERA (128 ER/295.2 IP) in 171 career minor league games, all but 15 as a reliever. He has surrendered just 18 home runs in 295.2 innings pitched, walking 94 while striking out 270. He was originally selected by Cleveland in the fifth round of the 2008 Draft before Colorado acquired him in January of this year for pitcher Kevin Slowey.
The 6-foot-1, 225-pound righthander has a 1-1 record and a 4.82 ERA (5 ER/9.1 IP) in 10 major league relief appearances since making his debut with Cleveland in September of 2011. Last season, he had two scoreless appearances for the Rockies (2.0 IP) in two stints with the major league club.
Putnam spent the majority of 2012 with Triple-A Colorado Springs, going 3-4 with 12 saves and a 4.15 ERA (28 ER/60.2 IP) in 49 relief appearances. He converted 12 of his first 15 save opportunities and struck out 49 with 27 walks in 60.2 innings pitched. Putnam recorded a 0.96 ERA (1 ER/9.1 IP) in his first seven games through April 30. In his final 13 outings from August 1 through the end of the season, he posted a 2.00 ERA (4 ER/18.0 IP).
In 2011, his final season in Cleveland’s organization, Putnam was 6-3 with nine saves and a 3.65 ERA (28 ER/69.0 IP) in 44 games with Triple-A Columbus before making his major league debut as a September call-up with the Indians. He went 1-1 with a 6.14 ERA (5 ER/7.1 IP) in eight outings, walking none and striking out nine.
Putnam, a native of Ann Arbor, Mich., played baseball for three seasons at the University of Michigan, culminating in 2008 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year honors.