The Nathan Aftershock

It hasn’t even been a full day since the organization and fans learned that their All-Star closer might possibly miss the entire 2010 season with a torn ulnar collateral ligament. It’s been a day full of updates and hope, and we’re now entering the time of aftershock.

Everybody knows the implications: If Nathan’s two weeks of rest don’t pan out, which some believe would be a miracle at this point, he’ll undergo Tommy John surgery and the organization will be left looking at other options to fill the ninth inning void and help keep the team on track for a run at the postseason as they open Target Field. 
Assistant general manager Rob Antony took a few moments to answer some questions regarding the difficult news and the immediate future. Per team policy, he wasn’t able to confirm or deny whether the team holds an insurance policy on Nathan, but he did shed some light on other matters.
Regarding internal candidates…

If Joe is unable to come back from this in 2010 we do have several internal candidates and we will begin looking at them as we move forward. As Gardy said, “Until we hear differently, Joe Nathan is our closer.” That said, it would be irresponsible for us not to begin evaluating our other options in the event that he needs surgery.

In the event that Nathan needs surgery, would they expect him back in 2011…

We hope so. It is so early in the process to speculate on 2011. We want to first see how it feels in a week or two.

In closing…

We will explore all options and make decisions when opportunities or candidates present themselves. I don’t believe we would make any decisions before it is necessary and will be open to internal candidates and potentially other avenues.

The hope remains that one of the best closers in all of baseball will be on the mound in 2010. It’ll take some things falling in place and some pain tolerance by Nathan, but that’s why it’s called hope.

If Nathan can’t go this season it’ll be very unfortunate not just for the team, but for Nathan and his great career. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean the team can’t fight on and remain in contention for a berth in the playoffs this fall.

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