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Joe Nathan to officially retire this Friday

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Bob Nightengale reports that Joe Nathan will officially announce his retirement at a ceremony at Target Field this Friday evening.

It was pretty clear that Nathan, who was released by the Nationals early this season, was at the end of the line, but it’s nice that the Twins will give him a proper sendoff. Nathan pitched in Minnesota for seven seasons in his 16 year career, saving 260 games for the Twins and posting a fantastic ERA+ of 204 and striking out 10.9 batters per nine innings over that span. Following Tommy John surgery he lodged a couple of solid seasons in Texas before going on to Detroit before a second Tommy John surgery in early 2015 basically ended his career. He’d make shot stops in San Francisco and Chicago before signing a minor league deal with Washington.

In all, Nathan compiled a record of 64-34 with a 2.87 ERA (ERA+ 151) and 377 saves, which puts him at number eight on the all-time list, just behind Dennis Eckersley and just ahead of Jonathan Papelbon.

Sheldon Ocker named winner of the 2018 J.G. Taylor Spink Award

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The Baseball Writers Association of America has named Sheldon Ocker the winner of the 2018 J.G. Taylor Spink Award. He will be honored with the award that is presented annually to a sportswriter “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing” during Hall of Fame inductions in Cooperstown on July 29.

Ocker began covering the Indians for the Akron Beacon Journal in 1981 and did so until 2013, when he retired. He was national president of the BBWAA in 1985 and served as chair of the Cleveland Chapter 11 times. He named Ohio Sports Writer of the Year in 1997 and 2000 by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.