Sep 23, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joe Nathan (36) pitches in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Detroit won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
You know that looming decision Brad Aumus has to make? He won’t have to make it–at least for awhile.
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This is because closer Joe Nathan, who by all accounts was recovering nicely with the plans of re-joining the Detroit Tigers bullpen ahead of the series opener with the Cleveland Indians on Friday, left a rehabilitation appearance in Toledo early because of arm discomfort.
According to a series of Tweets from Detroit Tigers’ MLive beat writer James Schmehl, The plan was for Nathan to go 25 pitches no matter how many innings that took. He was through two batters with a strikeout and ground out. After his 10th pitch, Nathan felt something in his arm and tried to throw a warm up pitch but left immediately after that throw while holding his right elbow.
Nathan had Tommy John Surgery on his elbow in 2010 and missed the entire season. He had three solid years in Minnesota and Texas post-surgery, coming over to the Tigers as a free agent on a two-year, $20 million deal prior to last year. He struggled throughout the season and battled “dead arm.”
Had he experienced an effective performance, Ausmus would have to choose between being loyal and exercising the old motto of never losing your job due to injuries or staying with the hot hand at closer in Joakim Soria, who has pitched four straight perfect innings, picking up three saves and a win in that stretch.
One thing is for sure, we wish Joe well. He and the fans don’t have the best relationship and we joke around a lot about his declining performance and his age, but it seems like arm problems are at the heart of the issues and elbow problems for a 40-year old pitcher is never a good thing to happen.
Stay with Motor City Bengals for more details on the injury.