It’s a tradition that’s seemingly as old as spring training itself: players try new things, their production suffers because they’re trying new things, we get worried that the results are a reflection of what we’ll see during the regular season, and said players assure us that there’s nothing to worry about, that they’re just trying some new things--because it’s the spring.
Enter Joe Nathan, the Texas Rangers’ new closer. On Monday, Nathan went one inning, surrendering a run on a hit and a walk. He struck out one, but since Texas was leading the Brewers at the time, he got a blown save as well.
But Nathan isn’t worried about the outing, due in part to the fact that he was trying something new--a sort of “quick-pitch” style that he sometimes tinkers with--while mainly focusing on placing his pitches.
"No, I'm not [worried]," Nathan said, per ESPN Dallas. "I was trying something with my delivery, trying to bull rush or quick-pitch them. It didn't work."
For the record, Nathan said he was pleased with his placement of pitches, despite the uninspiring line. As for Manager Ron Washington, he’s been encouraged by what he’s seen out of his new closer--particularly the velocity, following Tommy John surgery two years ago--and has no reservations about placing Nathan in the closer role on Opening Day and beyond.
"I like the velocity," Washington said. "Joe will keep getting the ball down here and I'll give him the ball at the end when the season started. The ball was coming out well."