Joe Nathan blows second straight save opportunity

6 Comments

Twins closer Joe Nathan is only 13 months removed from Tommy John surgery, a procedure that can take up to 18 months to fully recover from.

And it’s really beginning to show.

Nathan blew his second consecutive save opportunity on Saturday afternoon in Minnesota’s 4-3 loss to the Rays. He entered in the ninth inning to a 3-2 lead but gave up a solo home run to Ben Zobrist, the first batter he faced, and then walked two batters before getting yanked. Jose Mijares surrendered the Rays’ fourth run just a few hitters later as the Rays stormed the field in celebration.

Nathan averaged 93.6 MPH with his fastball in 2009 and 93.5 MPH in 2008. From 2005-2007 it averaged 94.8 MPH. This year, that pitch is clocking in at just 91.2 MPH.

And it’s not just about the velocity. When Nathan is at his best, he doesn’t walk batters very often. But he has already issued five free passes against only three strikeouts through 5 1/3 frames this season.

The Twins may need to hand closing duties off to another reliever while Nathan builds his arm strength in low pressure situations. Matt Capps hasn’t looked sharp in recent appearances, but he would probably be the guy if the Minnesota coaching staff should decide that a change needs to be made.

Athletics acquire Wilmer Font from Dodgers

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Dodgers announced on Wednesday that the club traded pitcher Wilmer Font to the Athletics in exchange for minor league pitcher Logan Salow.

Font, 27, was designated for assignment by the Dodgers on Monday. The right-hander struggled in six relief appearances, giving up 13 runs on 18 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings.

Salow, 23, opened the season with Single-A Beloit. The lefty has yielded two runs (one earned) on one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.