SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs closer J.J. Putz said that his simulated game on a back field at the club's Spring Training facility on Saturday was more productive than pitching in a Cactus League game.

The right-hander will pitch in Cactus League games on Wednesday and Friday this week.

Putz, who has appeared in one game so far this spring, has been given the freedom to design his schedule leading into the season. Drawing on his experience when he was closer for the Mariners, he told the D-backs that he did not need to get into game action until March 7.

In that outing, he retired the Royals in order and did not get to throw a lot of pitches, something he was able to do Saturday under the controlled environment of the simulated game.

"I think I threw 27 pitches, where the other day you saw I threw only nine pitches," Putz said. "Of those nine pitches, I think I threw two splits and no sliders and that's something I want to work on. So I was able to throw a lot of sliders [Saturday]."

Another thing that Putz was able to work on was a mechanical flaw that he said bullpen coach Glenn Sherlock noticed while watching Putz play catch recently.

"I've been working with Sherlock while we've been doing bullpen stuff, and that was something that really played out well [Saturday]," Putz said. "We were doing a couple of drills to try and keep the hip open instead of getting too twisted."

Said Arizona manager Kirk Gibson, "He's right on schedule."

Gibson disappointed with D-backs' results

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Kirk Gibson said he is not frustrated by his team's poor play in the Cactus League, but the D-backs' manager sure sounded like it after watching his club commit three errors against the Cubs on Sunday afternoon.

"We just can't continue to play that way, for sure," Gibson said. "It's not frustrating. Things have a way of working themselves out. So we're here to find things out and sometimes we have to address them. We obviously have to be better than that. I mean that's terrible."

With the loss to the Cubs, the D-backs fell to 5-15 on the spring. The lone off-day is set for Monday, and they pick things up against the Giants on Tuesday night.

"We need an off-day," Gibson said. "I'm not going to stand here and be negative. We're disappointed to lose games like we've been losing them. We'll leave it at that. We'll come back on Tuesday, have a good meeting and we'll try to regroup. We've got almost 2 1/2 weeks and we'll get it turned around. They all know they have to be better."

D-backs trim camp roster

The D-backs on Sunday optioned right-handed pitchers Josh Collmenter and Kevin Mulvey, left-handed pitcher Zach Kroenke, catcher John Hester and outfielder Cole Gillespie to Triple-A Reno, left-handed pitcher Leyson Septimo to Double-A Mobile and right-handed pitcher Yonata Ortega to Class A Visalia and reassigned right-handed pitchers Jarrod Parker and Daniel Stange, left-handed pitcher Wade Miley, infielders Paul Goldschmidt and Chris Owings and outfielders Collin Cowgill and A.J. Pollock to Minor League camp. The team now has 40 players in Major League camp, 32 on the 40-man roster and eight non-roster players.

Saunders on track following battle with flu

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs left-hander Joe Saunders was back in the clubhouse on Sunday morning, two days after being scratched from a start due to the flu.

"I couldn't eat," said Saunders, who had been scheduled to pitch against the Angels. "But I feel better, a little better."

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said that the missed start should not be a problem for Saunders and that a schedule for him had yet to be determined.

"I think we're going to take it day by day," Saunders said. "We've got the off day [Monday], so we'll see how everything is probably on Tuesday and maybe throw a bullpen the middle of the week. And then I don't know, maybe off the mound in a game a few days after that.

"I've missed starts in Spring Training before, and this isn't going to set me back at all so I'll still be on pace for the season and beyond. I just hope I don't get sick again. It was miserable."