SAN DIEGO -- D-backs general manager Kevin Towers said it was possible that recently signed first-round Draft pick Trevor Bauer could see some time in the Arizona bullpen this year.

"I don't think we envision him as a bullpen guy down the road," Towers said. "But sometimes with young players, it's the best way to break them into the big leagues, especially in September when you've got the expanded roster and you can pick and choose the times you bring them into the game."

For now, the right-hander will report to Class A Visalia in the California League.

With the D-backs wanting to have Bauer pitch 30 to 40 innings over the next two months, he would likely pitch out of the bullpen if he's promoted to the big leagues in September.

By giving him a taste of the Majors this year, the D-backs hope it would give him a head start on 2012, when he is expected to compete for a spot in the rotation.

"[D-backs manager Kirk Gibson] has asked me the same question," Towers said, when asked if Bauer earning a rotation spot next spring was realistic. "And it's always different once you get into a big league stadium and it's some better hitters than he's probably faced, but from the little I've been around this kid, mentally and physically, I think he's got the right head and the rubber arm. I think he can handle the workload, handle the pressure, but we'll find out in the spring."

Putz activated, resumes role as Arizona closer

SAN DIEGO -- D-backs closer J.J. Putz (right shoulder tendinitis) was activated from the 15-day disabled list before Tuesday's 6-1 win over the Padres. The club optioned Ryan Cook to Triple-A Reno to make room on the roster.

The right-hander, who made two rehab appearances for Triple-A Reno, resumed his closer's role from David Hernandez.

"David did a great job," said D-backs manager Kirk Gibson.

Hernandez converted all seven of his save opportunities in Putz's absence and allowed just three hits and one run in 9 1/3 innings.

"Every time I see David run out there in the ninth, I kind of get the juices flowing a little bit and miss being out there," Putz said. "But he did a tremendous job, and hopefully that's something he can lean on going down the stretch."

Gibson said that Putz is able to pitch in back-to-back games, but that he would be cautious with doing that if the first of the outings was difficult. The skipper added that he would stay away from using Putz three days in a row.

"I'm pretty sure J.J. can go back to back at this point, and on the days he's not able to pitch, it will be good to have had David have that experience," Gibson said. "It's just been good for him to understand the mindset of how to prepare and get in there. He's come a long way in a year. It's very good for our depth."

Cowgill called up, makes Major League debut

SAN DIEGO -- As if just being in a big league clubhouse for the first time was not exciting enough, Collin Cowgill got an even bigger jolt on Tuesday when he poked his head in the coaches room and third-base coach Matt Williams told him he was in the starting lineup.

"It's unbelievable," Cowgill said. "I'm really excited. Hopefully I can just calm it down a little."

The D-backs selected the contract of the outfielder from Triple-A Reno on Tuesday to replace Geoff Blum, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured right pinkie finger.

Cowgill, the club's fifth-round pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, was in the midst of his finest professional season at the time of the promotion, hitting .354 with 24 doubles, eight triples, 13 homers and 70 RBIs for Reno.

"[He has] probably been one of our most consistent performers at Triple-A, and he brings some speed and a power arm -- kind of like [Gerardo] Parra," said D-backs general manager Kevin Towers. "He's a two-way guy. I'm not saying he's [Red Sox second baseman Dustin] Pedroia, but he kind of reminds me of him in his approach. He's a small guy who is very aggressive at the plate, has surprising power for a small guy and knows how to play the game."

Cowgill got the start in left field for Tuesday's 6-1 win in San Diego, going hitless in four at-bats from the eight-hole in the lineup. D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said that Parra was available, despite being scratched from Sunday's lineup after being hit in the wrist by a pitch the night before.

So does that mean that Cowgill will get the majority of the playing time in left?

"How would I know that?" Gibson said, adding that he would decide the playing time on a daily basis.

Towers working phones for bullpen help

SAN DIEGO -- As the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, D-backs general manager Kevin Towers remains focused on acquiring relief pitching to help bolster his second-place club.

"Right now, it's starting to get to the point now to where other clubs are coming back to us with names of people that they'd have interest in," Towers said. "It's usually a little slow until that last weekend -- then it becomes lightning round, things get crazy.

"Clubs that are sellers usually want to try and leverage other clubs that are buyers and wait until the end to do their best deal. When you're a buyer, it's kind of the same thing. You want to get the right guy, but get the right guy without having to give up all your inventory as well."

Trade Include

While Towers would like to add a piece, he is also aware that the D-backs spent last year's Deadline building back up their inventory of Minor League prospects -- and he does not want to give that up.

The D-backs' pitching has been better this year, but there is not a lot of depth -- particularly in the bullpen, and an injury to closer J.J. Putz or setup man David Hernandez could prove costly.

"You look at the club we're behind right now, pitching is what kept them where they're at," Towers said, referring to the Giants. "For us to make up ground on them, we have to improve our pitching."

D-backs team president/CEO Derrick Hall is on the road trip with Towers, and the pair will be joined Friday in Los Angeles by special assistant Bob Gebhard and vice president of scouting and player development Jerry Dipoto for the final 72 hours before the Deadline.