A.J. Pierzynski with closer Joe Nathan.
Joe Nathan is having one of the best seasons of his career, so far, and by the time the 2013 season wraps up it very well could top his 2004 season with Minnesota when he saved 44 games with a 1.62 ERA while finishing fourth in the AL Cy Young balloting and 12th in the AL MVP voting.
As the 2013 season wraps up, it will also mark the end of the career of the greatest closer of all time as New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has announced he'll retire following this season. Both elite closers are teammates in Tuesday's MLB All-Star Game, and Nathan is looking forward to his chance to pick the brain of the game's best closer of all-time one last time.
Even if it means Nathan doesn't get a chance to pitch, as Rivera is ensured of being the final pitcher the AL team uses, regardless of it being a save situation.
“It’s always fun,” Nathan told reporters. “It’s more about picking his brain. The physical stuff, everybody has done what they need to. It’s always nice to see how he handles himself mentally before he goes out there.”
Nathan is having a great season at age 38 and is making his sixth all-star appearance with a 1.36 ERA and 30 saves in 31 opportunities at the break and has arguably been the game's best closer through the first half of the season.
But for one night, he's willing to take a back seat.