FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It's hold-your-breath time for the Twins: Closer Joe Nathan, who was removed from Saturday's Grapefruit League game against Boston, will return to the Twin Cities on Monday for an MRI on his surgically repaired elbow.
"We're going to repeat some tests," Twins general manager Bill Smith said Sunday morning. "We want to repeat some tests that we had done on him in September. Those were our baseline tests, and when we repeat those [and compare], then we'll have a much, much better idea of where it's at."
Nathan, following a season in which he had 47 saves, had surgery to clean out the elbow in October. Noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews removed two bone spurs and some bone chips, and Nathan said Saturday, in describing his elbow as "achy" and saying he felt "tightness", that doctors had warned him he would have moments like that along his recovery.
One of the game's top closers, the prospect of a Nathan-less Twins club -- for any amount of time -- would shake things up in the AL Central.
"He came out of the game, so we're a little concerned," Smith said. "But until we see how the tests compare ... our doctors have talked a lot about establishing baselines, especially with our pitchers' shoulders and elbows, and using that date into the future to evaluate."
Up next in that plan is Nathan.
The Twins are holding their breath.