After a pair of ugly early season outings Tigers closer Joe Nathan talked last week about going through a “dead arm” phase, but now the 39-year-old is feeling much stronger.
Nathan pitched a scoreless inning Thursday, averaging 92 miles per hour with his fastball, and afterward told Jason Beck of MLB.com that his arm “did feel like it was a lot livelier.”
Four days between appearances probably helped and it’ll be interesting to see if the Tigers and first-year manager Brad Ausmus make a strong effort to limit Nathan’s workload, at least early in the season. They’re paying him $9 million this season and $10 million next season, and as fantastic as Nathan has been 39 years old is still 39 years old.
John Farrell will return to manage the Red Sox next season, provided he is healthy enough to do so, the club announced Sunday morning in a press release.
Torey Lovullo, who has been serving as Boston’s interim manager since Farrell was diagnosed with lymphoma, signed a two-year contract to return as Farrell’s bench coach. Lovullo also forfeited his right to pursue another managerial role with the new deal.
Farrell guided the Red Sox to the World Series title in 2013 and the problems with the Red Sox over the last two seasons have been more about roster construction.
Dave Dombrowski took over the front office from Ben Cherington back in mid-August and will try to turn things around this winter.
All of the other coaches on Farrell’s staff will return except first-base coach Arnie Beyeler.
Stephen Piscotty took the brunt of a frightening outfield collision last week at PNC Park, but he only suffered a mild concussion and was cleared for baseball activities a couple days later.
Now he is back in the Cardinals’ starting lineup, batting second and playing right field Sunday in the first half of a doubleheader against the Braves at Atlanta’s Turner Field.
Piscotty has an impressive .867 OPS with seven home runs and 39 RBI over his first 62 major league games. He should be a big part of the Cardinals’ postseason push, drawing starts in the corner outfield spots and at first base.
St. Louis will get either the Pirates or Cubs in the NLDS.