Joe Nathan undergoes Tommy John surgery

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Joe Nathan headshot.jpgUPDATE: General manager Bill Smith says that Nathan’s reported “significant” UCL tear ended up being a complete tear, reports Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

7:31 pm: The Twins have announced that Joe Nathan’s Tommy John surgery was a success, reports Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Mets (gasp!) team physician Dr. David Altcheck performed the surgery in New York on Friday.

Altcheck removed a tendon from Nathan’s left wrist and inserted it into his right
elbow, repairing his torn ulnar collateral ligament. The 35-year-old right-hander is expected to miss the entirety of the 2010 season, but should be ready to rock for the early part of the 2011 season.

Jon Rauch has the most closing experience among Nathan’s potential in-house replacements, though the club has yet to make a decision on that front. Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain and even Francisco Liriano have been discussed as alternatives, while Jason Frasor of the Blue Jays and Heath Bell of the Padres are reportedly available via trade.

Watch: Javier Baez snares a 106-MPH ground ball

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What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.

Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.

Dodgers activate Adrian Gonzalez

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The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.