So, what if I told you that the Tigers were planning to add a 6-time All Star who is currently 7th on the all time save list to their roster this Friday? What would the reaction be if this particular player is a member of the 300 save club?
I think most Tiger fans would be excited…until it became clear that the player is Joe Nathan. Prepare yourselves, Nation. Are you sitting down?
Nathan said if everything goes smoothly he should be back from the DL on Friday.
— Catherine Slonksnis (@CSlonksnis) April 21, 2015
With the Tigers winners of 11 of the first 14 games and the pitching on fire so far, it’s apparently going to be difficult for the fans to welcome Nathan back with open arms. Joakim Soria has been certainly holding down the fort in Nathan’s injury absence with a team leading 5 saves. Nathan’s history with Detroit fans has been rocky at best which only adds to the dilemma for manager Brad Ausmus.
In his only regular season appearance in 2015 on Opening Day, Nathan struck out Torii Hunter to seal the victory for Detroit on four pitches. He was booed during pre-game introductions, as he entered the field in the 9th inning, and during his warm up for his trouble.
While on the disabled list, Nathan seems to be taking it all in stride and is saying all the right things regarding being a team player.
“I am 40 years old. I am not worried about losing a role or doing anything but winning ballgames.”
The final step of rehab for Nathan is to throw one inning for the Toledo Mud Hens on Wednesday morning. Although he’s not thrilled about the possibility of throwing so early in the day, Nathan is confident that he’s ready to return to action due to his positive bullpen session on Monday.
“It was good,” he said. “I threw all my pitches and got after it, let it go, aired it out and really tested it so we knew what we could do moving forward.”