Posted by Matt Snyder
Joe Nathan took the mound Tuesday in his spring debut. Thus, it was obviously his first game action since undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery last spring.
While it wasn't exactly an Earth-shattering outing, it was enough for encouragement. Nathan threw 20 pitches, allowing only a walk. He induced two flyouts and a groundout, according to Kelly Thesier of MLB.com via Twitter. There was much discussion on Twitter of the radar gun being unreliabe in the stadium, but it's worth noting Nathan was right around 90 mph, which is where he usually is this time of the spring. He has recently told reporters he feels "normal" for this time of the year, so that mark shouldn't be surprising.
Though he still has a bit to go, all signs point to Nathan being on track to resume his role as Twins closer this season. Even if he doesn't start in the role right out of the gate, it's hard to see him not regaining the role within the first month of the season.
The Twins do have Matt Capps as insurance. He saved 16 games and sported a nice 2.00 ERA for the Twins after coming over in a deadline deal.
But Nathan is one of the league's elite closers when healthy. As a Twin, he's racked up 246 saves in six seasons (an average of 41 per year) with a 1.87 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 11.1 K/9.
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