Joe Nathan cruises through second appearance after Tommy John surgery

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Joe Nathan turned in a hitless inning Tuesday in his first appearance back from Tommy John surgery and he took another measured step forward earlier today, needing just nine pitches to retire the Rays in order.

Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that Nathan reached 95 mph on the stadium’s radar gun. We can’t know for sure if that’s anything close to accurate, but according to Kelly Thesier of MLB.com, Nathan was most encouraged by his ability to set up Jose Lobaton for a swinging strikeout to end the inning.

“The last hitter, especially, it really started feeling like my timing was getting better,” Nathan said. “It’s just getting a little more comfortable.”

“That last batter, I almost concentrated on what he was doing and how he was reacting to certain pitches,” the reliever added. “That’s a good sign that I’m getting away from just thinking about what I was doing.”

Nathan feels like he’s to the point where he can pitch every other day, but tells Thesier that he’s working this spring so that he will be able to throw on back to back days. In other words, he wants his closer role back.

Wade Miley will start NLCS Game 5 for Brewers

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The Brewers haven’t yet decided what route to go for Game 4 of the NLCS, but Wade Miley will start Game 5, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Miley will be on three days’ rest after starting Game 2 on Saturday.

Miley, 31, has yet to give up a run this postseason. He made his postseason debut in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Rockies, hurling 4 2/3 scoreless innings. He then went 5 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dodgers.

Jhoulys Chacín is starting tonight’s Game 3. It seems likely the Brewers will go with an “opener” in Game 4. Who that will be likely depends on which pitchers are used tonight.