UPDATE: Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Nathan is headed back to the Twin Cities to have an MRI on the elbow.
SATURDAY, 3:12pm: Luckily the Twins are saying it was only for “precautionary reasons,” but closer Joe Nathan was removed from Saturday’s game against the Red Sox due to some elbow tightness.
He faced three batters and threw 20 pitches in the third inning before being greeted by pitching coach Rick Anderson and assistant trainer Dave Preumer. As you’ll recall, Nathan underwent surgery in October to remove two bone spurs and bone chips from his right elbow. Here’s what he told Kelly Thesier of MLB.com:
“[There was] some tightness, achiness. We didn’t want to push through
anything,” Nathan said of his elbow. “I think it’s more being careful
than anything right now. [We are] taking things slow because we still
have a lot of time.”
Nathan said he will be reevaluated on Sunday, but did not want to “come to any assumptions” whether he’d be fine or not. It’s finger-crossing time in Minnesota. You wouldn’t know it by all the attention Mariano Rivera gets, but Nathan has a 1.87 ERA and 0.93 WHIP since joining the Twins in 2004.