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Mop-up man no more: Twins move Joe Nathan into setup role

May 13, 2011, 2:49 PM EDT

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Joe Nathan was stripped of closing duties and demoted to mop-up man following back-to-back blown saves in mid-April, but with the rest of the Twins’ bullpen struggling and Nathan putting together a string of decent outings Ron Gardenhire has decided to move him into a higher-leverage role.

Gardenhire told Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com that Nathan and Glen Perkins will serve as the primary setup men for closer Matt Capps, which is somewhat surprising because Nathan has hardly looked fantastic since losing ninth-inning duties.

He’s made a total of seven appearances since the demotion, allowing six runs in seven innings, although five of his last six outings have been scoreless and his recent velocity is noticeably improved from his initial post-Tommy John surgery stuff. Nathan, who led all relievers in ERA and saves from 2004-2009, has a 7.30 ERA and 10/8 K/BB ratio in 12 innings overall.

  1. sknut - May 13, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    Gardy is just searching at this point. I do like Perkins back there though and hopefully Nathan can be more consistent but with the crap in front of them there don’t seem to be too many leads to protect.

  2. kopy - May 13, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    I’m digging the old school photo.

  3. philosofly - May 13, 2011 at 11:36 PM

    The Twins are Effenheimer’d this year. Why? Because of Billy Smith. If Billy Smith holds his job past the All-Star game I’d be shocked if Target Field keeps selling out. $7 beer, $40 for horsesh*t seats and the worst record in baseball!!

    Oh, and Gardy? Fire him. A good manager can take a bunch of “losers” and turn them into winners (see: Buck Showalter). Injuries are no excuse for this club. The G.M. is terrible, and Gardy mismanages games worse than Denny Green in the NFC Championship Game. I can honestly say the Twins are who I thought they were. Losers, a fluke, a poor excuse for a baseball club. You can’t win without pitching, period.

    • kw93 - May 14, 2011 at 11:02 AM

      Under the most recent American League Manager of the year the Twins have won the American League Central six of nine years. Philosofly…. “COME ON MAN!” With the exception of last year the Twins have been notoriously known as one of the best small market teams in the league. With the exception of last year, the Twins spent little to no money on the roster. But I suppose that is a proven track record of not turning a bunch of “losers” into winners. I suppose numbers don’t speak for themselves. I suppose the Twins over charge for ticket prices in a 2 year old stadium. I suppose you have no clue what other teams pay to see their team. I suppose.

      Nathan wasn’t stripped of anything nor was he demoted. It was a mutual decision made by both him and the team due to him having to re-tweak his arm after Tommy John’s Surgery.

      Oh… I’ll state an opinion now…. Anyone who doesn’t know that one of the biggest factors on winning in any professional sport revolves around staying healthy probably gets most of their sports knowledge from the work water cooler.

      • philosofly - May 15, 2011 at 2:19 PM

        I don’t see any winners in the Twins clubhouse. I don’t see any championship rings on Gardy’s hands. Do you? You must because you are really sounding like a fanboi.

        Mark my words, the Twins will never win the World Series with Bill Smith running the show and the Twins’ bullheaded ways of favoring control over nasty “stuff” at the mound.

      • philosofly - May 15, 2011 at 2:58 PM

        Oh, and anyone who knows anything about sports just watched the Packers win the Super Bowl EVEN THOUGH THEY DID NOT STAY HEALTHY!! Pull your head out, MAN!

  4. kw93 - May 14, 2011 at 11:06 AM

    *fans pay to see their team

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