Apr 16, 2011, 8:55 PM EDT
Twins closer Joe Nathan is only 13 months removed from Tommy John surgery, a procedure that can take up to 18 months to fully recover from.
And it’s really beginning to show.
Nathan blew his second consecutive save opportunity on Saturday afternoon in Minnesota’s 4-3 loss to the Rays. He entered in the ninth inning to a 3-2 lead but gave up a solo home run to Ben Zobrist, the first batter he faced, and then walked two batters before getting yanked. Jose Mijares surrendered the Rays’ fourth run just a few hitters later as the Rays stormed the field in celebration.
Nathan averaged 93.6 MPH with his fastball in 2009 and 93.5 MPH in 2008. From 2005-2007 it averaged 94.8 MPH. This year, that pitch is clocking in at just 91.2 MPH.
And it’s not just about the velocity. When Nathan is at his best, he doesn’t walk batters very often. But he has already issued five free passes against only three strikeouts through 5 1/3 frames this season.
The Twins may need to hand closing duties off to another reliever while Nathan builds his arm strength in low pressure situations. Matt Capps hasn’t looked sharp in recent appearances, but he would probably be the guy if the Minnesota coaching staff should decide that a change needs to be made.
- Clayton Kershaw and Mike Trout make MLB history in Saturday’s matchup 0
- Matt Williams on Bryce Harper’s ejection: “He needs to stay in the baseball game” 14
- UPDATE: C.J. Wilson needs elbow surgery and will likely miss the rest of the season 11
- Settling the Score: Friday’s results 37
- The benches cleared in Friday’s Giants-Rangers game 181
- The Winners and Losers at the Trade Deadline 74
- 2015 MLB Trade Deadline Tracker 11
- Report: Yoenis Cespedes heading to the New York Mets 38
- The benches cleared in Friday’s Giants-Rangers game (181)
- Blue Jays acquire David Price from the Tigers (112)
- Rangers land ace left-hander Cole Hamels from Phillies (106)
- Royals make another big move, get Ben Zobrist from A’s (95)
- Report: Rockies trade Troy Tulowitzki to Blue Jays for Jose Reyes and prospects (90)