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Joe Nathan cruises through second appearance after Tommy John surgery

Mar 4, 2011, 8:11 PM EDT

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Joe Nathan turned in a hitless inning Tuesday in his first appearance back from Tommy John surgery and he took another measured step forward earlier today, needing just nine pitches to retire the Rays in order.

Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that Nathan reached 95 mph on the stadium’s radar gun. We can’t know for sure if that’s anything close to accurate, but according to Kelly Thesier of MLB.com, Nathan was most encouraged by his ability to set up Jose Lobaton for a swinging strikeout to end the inning.

“The last hitter, especially, it really started feeling like my timing was getting better,” Nathan said. “It’s just getting a little more comfortable.”

“That last batter, I almost concentrated on what he was doing and how he was reacting to certain pitches,” the reliever added. “That’s a good sign that I’m getting away from just thinking about what I was doing.”

Nathan feels like he’s to the point where he can pitch every other day, but tells Thesier that he’s working this spring so that he will be able to throw on back to back days. In other words, he wants his closer role back.

  1. dfensfelix - Mar 5, 2011 at 12:35 AM

    Glad to hear it, coming back from TJ surgery in your mid-30′s is a ridiculously hard thing to do. It’s hard in your mid-20′s for chrissake. Best wishes to the best and (probably) the most underrated and least known closer in the MLB

  2. jetersusedjersey - Mar 5, 2011 at 8:25 AM

    Man the guy who took him in the 23rd round of our fanstasy draft may look like a genuis by seasons end!

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