Some positive news on the Joe Nathan front.
According to James Schmehl of MLive.com, the veteran closer has been cleared to make a rehab appearance Wednesday and Triple-A Toledo and he anticipates rejoining the Tigers after just one outing.
Nathan was placed on the 15-day disabled list April 8 with a Grade 1 flexor strain in his elbow. He’d made just one appearance for Detroit this year, earning a one-out save on Opening Day against the Twins.
Joakim Soria has picked up five saves in Nathan’s absence, but he’ll be moved back to a setup role.
MLive.com’s James Schmehl reports that Tigers closer Joe Nathan threw off a mound for the first time since being diagnosed with a flexor strain in his right elbow. Nathan threw 15 pitches and reported feeling “awesome”. He’s on track to throw a bullpen on Monday. If things go as planned, Nathan could be activated from the disabled list on Wednesday.
Joakim Soria has been closing games out for the Tigers in the interim and has done a good job. In 5 2/3 innings, the right-hander has converted all four save opportunities with a 1.59 ERA and a 4/0 K/BB ratio. Per MLive.com’s Chris Iott, manager Brad Ausmus plans to put Nathan back in the closer’s role and Soria back as the set-up man. Nathan, now 40 years old, is coming off of a miserable 2014 campaign and struggled to open the season prior to his injury.
Joe Nathan was hoping to bounce back from a miserable 2014 season and show he’s still a closer-caliber reliever at age 40, but instead he’s already headed to the Tigers’ disabled list with a strained elbow.
Nathan picked up a one-out save on Opening Day by striking out former teammate Torii Hunter thanks to umpire Joe West’s controversial call. Last season he blew seven of 42 save chances and posted a 4.81 ERA, getting booed off the mound in Detroit several times.
Detroit has another experienced closer in Joakim Soria ready to step into ninth-inning duties and by the time Nathan is healthy there’s a chance manager Brad Ausmus won’t want him back in the closer role.