Joe Nathan Returns to Action

Minnesota’s four time All-Star returned to the hill yesterday, his first outing in almost a year after undergoing Tommy John surgery last March.

Analysis: Although both Jon Rauch and Matt Capps filled in admirably this past season, the Twins still missed their elite closer. Nathan, who hasn’t had an ERA over 2.10 since 2005, has consistently ranked among the best in the game since taking over the fireman role seven years ago. Now 36 years old, the big righty out of Stony Brook University is looking forward to pitching the ninth for the first time at Target Field. Nathan threw 20 pitches in a scoreless inning against Boston on Tuesday, showcasing each pitch in his arsenal. His velocity was a tick below 90 mph and he felt a little soreness this morning. It is early March and this is all to be expected. The good news is that Nathan was able to make his pitches, and showed no real adverse effects.

Projection: Tommy John surgery is no longer the career death sentence it once was. As a matter of fact, many pitchers come back from it stronger than ever nowadays. This is good news for the Twins and Fantasy owners, as Nathan should prove to once again be a Top 5 closer. Owners may shy away from taking Nathan early because of a perceived risk, and this could allow you to scoop him up when nobody is looking. Aside from the great Rivera in the Bronx and the man with the big beard in San Francisco, no
stopper offers as much potential when it comes to saves and strikeouts as Nathan does. He’ll get plenty of opportunities, and 40+ saves to go along with 80+ strikeouts would not surprise me in the least.

Author: Scott Orgera

Scott has been covering several major sports for almost 20 years in multiple capacities including statistician, datacaster, and reporter. He has covered well over 1,000 MLB games from the press boxes of various venues including Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium, Citi Field, and Fenway Park. Scott has also provided live NFL statistics from Giants Stadium (now the New Meadowlands Stadium) for both the Giants and Jets for several seasons. He has recently begun providing official statistics for NCAA Basketball television broadcasts. Scott is also an IT Team Lead for a major telecommunications company, in addition to being a technical reporter for a well known news outlet.

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