Joe Nathan is going to try and throw this weekend and obviously everyone hopes he’ll be OK. But let’s be honest: not many pitchers can throw with torn torn ligaments in their elbow and the chances of Nathan being the Twins’ closer this year are slim. Minnesota needs to look at other options. And according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale they’re doing so. Specifically, they’re scouting the Padres’ Heath Bell.
Bell is one of the best closers in the National League — 42 saves; 79Ks in 69 IP, 2.71 ERA in 2009 — and at $4 million this year, something of a bargain for a man of his talents. He also has closer’s facial hair, and that’s just not the kind of thing that can be taught.
Given how much the Twins have done to improve this offseason, the new ballpark and the fact that the AL Central is totally, totally winable, you have to think that they’re not going to want to give the closer’s job to, say, Jon Rauch, if it’s avoidable.