Nathan has bone chips removed from elbow

Leave a comment

Kelly Thesier of MLB.com reports that Joe Nathan had surgery Tuesday to remove two bone chips from his right elbow, which perhaps explains his postseason implosion against the Yankees.
On the other hand, Nathan finished the regular season by converting 13 straight saves with a 1.17 ERA and 19/5 K/BB ratio in his final 15 appearances, so clearly the bone chips weren’t holding him back much as the Twins came from behind to win the AL Central.
Nathan’s raw stuff has certainly declined some over the past two seasons, but that’s to be expected from a pitcher who’ll be 35 years old next month. His average fastball clocked in at 94.8 miles per hour from 2005-2007, but dipped to 93.5 mph last season and 93.6 mph this year. He’s also relied less and less on his fastball, throwing it under 60 percent of the time over the past two years.
Age, postseason struggles, diminished velocity, and now elbow problems are all reasons to worry about Nathan heading into 2010, but it’s tough to imagine the Twins trading a guy who’s neck and neck with Mariano Rivera as the most effective closer in baseball since coming to Minnesota in 2004 and saved the second-most games in the league with a 2.10 ERA, 89/22 K/BB ratio, and .171 opponents’ batting average this season.
He’s signed for $11.25 million in each of the next two seasons, with a $12.5 million option or $2 million buyout for 2012.

Astros’ bullpen throws combined one-hitter for MLB-best 30th win

Bob Levey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Astros’ bullpen did yeoman’s work in place of the injured Dallas Keuchel on Monday against the Tigers. Keuchel is temporarily sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck.

Brad Peacock made the spot start, limiting the Tigers to one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. Chris Devenski took over with one out in the fifth, finishing out that inning as well as the sixth and seventh, facing the minimum. Will Harris pitched a perfect eighth and Ken Giles closed out the 1-0 victory in the ninth. Devenski, Harris, and Giles each had two strikeouts.

The Astros scored their only run in the bottom of the first inning as George Springer drew a leadoff walk, then scored on Jose Altuve‘s one-out double. Tigers starter Brad Fulmer pitched well enough to win on most days, giving up the lone run in seven frames.

After Monday’s win, the Astros became the first team to reach 30 wins, sitting on a 30-15 record. With a +55 run differential, even their expected record matches up with their actual record.

Brandon Phillips hit his 200th career home run

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.

Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.