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Giants recall Joe Nathan to bolster bullpen

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The Giants have purchased the contract of reliever Joe Nathan prior to Saturday’s matinee, according to MLB.com’s Chris Haft. The right-hander is expected to fill some holes in the bullpen as the Giants finish off a three-game set against the Cubs this weekend.

Nathan signed a minor league deal with the Giants in August after making a handful of appearances with the Cubs earlier this season. During a two-week stint in Double-A Richmond, the 41-year-old closed out six games for the Richmond Flying Squirrels, giving up three hits and a walk and striking out seven en route to a pair of saves.

At first glance, it might make more sense to utilize that roster spot for a third catcher, which the Giants currently lack, but there’s no question that their bullpen could use the extra support. Right-handed reliever Hunter Strickland looked overtaxed during a 2-1 loss on Friday night, failing to record an out for the first time since June 5, and even with Josh Osich’s scoreless inning and Matt Cain bolstering a 12-man ‘pen, there isn’t much to get excited about as the team prepares for another stretch run.

Nathan is no stranger to the Giants or the bullpen, but after undergoing his second Tommy John surgery in 2015, it would be unrealistic to expect the veteran righty to produce the 1.39 ERA, 2.3 fWAR levels of dominance he flashed during his last successful season in the major leagues. Still, with 12 other relievers vying for time on the mound, it’s unlikely that he’ll see substantial playing time heading into September.

With Nathan on the 40-man roster, the Giants recalled right-hander Ray Black, who will be placed on the 60-day disabled list with a right elbow bone spur.

Report: Mets sign Brad Brach to one-year, $850,000 contract

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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Mets and free agent reliever Brad Brach have agreed on a one-year deal worth $850,000. The contract includes a player option for the 2021 season with a base salary of $1.25 million and additional performance incentives.

Brach, 33, signed as a free agent with the Cubs this past February. After posting an ugly 6.13 ERA over 39 2/3 innings, the Cubs released him in early August. The Mets picked him up shortly thereafter. Brach’s performance improved, limiting opposing hitters to six runs on 15 hits and three walks with 15 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings through the end of the season.

While Brach will add some much-needed depth to the Mets’ bullpen, his walk rate has been going in the wrong direction for the last three seasons. It went from eight percent in 2016 to 9.5, 9.7, and 12.8 percent from 2017-19. Needless to say the Mets are hoping that trend starts heading in the other direction next season.