Joe Nathan replaces Matt Capps as Twins’ closer

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Ahh, the great circle of life.

According to LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Twins have reinstated veteran right-hander Joe Nathan into his old familiar ninth inning role and moved Matt Capps back to setup.

Nathan opened the 2011 regular season as Minnesota’s primary closer, but he was still in recovery mode from Tommy John surgery and it showed in his early stat lines. Capps took over, and maintained the role for three months, until the Twins made a change again before Saturday’s game.

Nathan hasn’t allowed an earned run and has yielded just two hits in his past seven relief appearances, dating back to June 28. Capps, meanwhile, blew his seventh save of the season in Friday night’s loss to the Royals.

Report: Padres interested in Maikel Franco

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals
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The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.

Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.

Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.