Nathan opts to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Joe Nathan headshot.jpg9:36pm: Christensen passes along word that Nathan has opted to undergo Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery and will miss all of the 2010 season.  The throwing session apparently ran less than smoothly:

“It didn’t go like we hoped,” Nathan said. “We knew it was a long shot,
but this will help clear my head.”

8:48am: Joe Nathan finally got around to playing catch Sunday morning, a final test before he decides whether to undergo season-ending elbow surgery.  Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is awaiting word from the Twins, as are we.

Nathan was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament last week and will miss a large chunk of the 2010 season no matter what course he takes.  After all, rehab for such an injury would almost certainly last several months.

The 35-year-old closer collected 47 saves last season while posting a 2.10 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 89/22 K/BB ratio in 68 2/3 innings of work.  The Twins haven’t announced who will fill in for him this season, though it’s safe to guess that Jon Rauch and Matt Guerrier are the front-runners for the substitute gig.  Rauch has closing experience and Guerrier is one of the finest setup men in the game.

Braves trade David Hernandez to the Angels

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The Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels have completed a minor trade: Atlanta is sending righty reliever David Hernandez to the Angels in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Hernandez hasn’t pitched in the big leagues this year. He’s pitched in seven games at Triple-A, allowing one earned run in eight innings of work. In seven years of big league work he’s got an ERA of 4.10 in 379 games. Last year he put up a 3.84 ERA in 70 games for the Phillies.

I’m assuming the PTBNL is not Mike Trout.

The Nats are sniffing around for relief pitching help

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The Nationals began the year with Blake Treinen as their closer. That didn’t last long, and now Koda Glover seems to be Dusty Baker’s man in the ninth inning. He earned a save for the second consecutive game yesterday. Glover has been pretty darn good in the early going, posting a 2.35 ERA and striking out six batters and walking only one in seven and two-thirds. That obviously a small sample size, and anything can happen. If it does, Baker has Shawn Kelley as an option.

Not many household names there, which is probably why the Nationals are reported to be interested in the White Sox’ David Robertson and Alex Colome of the Rays. That report comes from Jim Bowden of ESPN, who also notes that the A’s have a number of guys with closing experience on staff and are likely to be sellers too. The David Robertson thing may have more legs, though, given that Mike Rizzo and Rick Hahn pulled off a pretty major trade in the offseason. If you know a guy well, you call that guy first, right?

As far as problems go this isn’t a huge one. The Nats sit at 13-5 and, as expected by most prognosticators, are in first place in the National League East. The Cubs had some questions in the pen this time last year too. They had the luxury of trying to figure it out before making a massive trade for a closer. The Nats do too, and likely will. But expect them to be a part of any trade rumor conversation for the next couple of months.