Rangers’ closer Joe Nathan hasn’t taken the mound since last Thursday night, when he struggled but eventually shut the door on the Angels to give Texas a 15-9 victory and a series split with their rivals from the West Coast.
In that outing, Nathan needed 29 pitches to get the final three outs of the game, surrendering two hits, a walk and a run (on a home run) in the process. The night before, he needed 33 pitches to navigate the tenth, giving up three runs on a pair of home runs, a solo shot by Chris Iannetta and a two-run job by Albert Pujols.
Of course, the Texas offense bailed Nathan out on Wednesday, and the veteran actually got the win. But between the two outings, it seemed clear late last week that we weren’t seeing the same shut-down, quick-working closer we’ve become accustomed to here in 2012.
The good news is that, according to Nathan--a recipient of Tommy John surgery back in 2010--what’s wrong was simply fatigue, and nothing more serious.
“It’s just been a time of year where I’ve thrown a lot,” Nathan said, per the Dallas Morning News. “The life on my fastball is a little less. The workload that I’ve had has been heavy. I want to get to a point where I don’t feel like you are fighting to get [the ball] out there."
In Nathan's absence over the weekend, Alexi Ogando earned a pair of saves against Kansas City, but don't expect Nathan to be out of the closer role for too long.
“Dead arm happens to everybody,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you are 17, 25 or 37. It happens.”