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.