ARLINGTON, Texas – Texas closer Joe Nathan doesn’t mind little rest every now and then.
But not pitching in more than a week isn’t what Nathan considers rest. It’s too much time off for the closer, who hasn’t appeared in a game since April 26.
“I hate it,” Nathan said. “I hate having this many days off. It’s almost like that Opening Day feeling again when you just hope for the best. I don’t think this is fresh. I think when I don’t throw you become stale, not fresh. You get fresh after two or three days off. After eight it becomes rust.”
The Rangers have won just two games since Nathan last pitched and neither of them had save situations. Texas manager Ron Washington opted to use Derek Lowe to close out Friday’s 7-0 victory over Boston because Lowe hadn’t pitched since April 24.
He knows he has to get Nathan involved soon.
“Derek had been down, if I wouldn’t have got him in there last night, it would have been 10 days,” Washington said. “Joe’s been a week. We’ve got to get him in there.”
Nathan has eight saves and a 2.00 ERA but there are no guarantees how sharp he’ll be in his first appearance after the layoff. Simulating game action is impossible.
“You just hope for the best,” he said. “There’s no way to mimic going into a game. People say you throw on the side but throwing on the side means nothing. It’s nothing like throwing in a game. There’s really nothing that can mimic going into a regular-season games when thinks count a little more.”