Is there hope to save Nathan’s season?

All indications are that Joe Nathan will not pitch for the Minnesota Twins in 2010. The perennial All-Star closer is likely headed for Tommy John surgery after suffering a significant tear of his ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm.

But MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo writes that, as unlikely as it sounds, it is possible that Nathan could pitch this season with some effectiveness.

Mayo cites last season, when veteran Boston Red Sox reliever Takaski Saito opted not to have Tommy John surgery and pitch through the pain. He was reasonably effective, appearing in 56 games with a 2.43 ERA, 1.35 WHIP and .244 opponents’ batting average.

Saito, who is now with the Atlanta Braves, insists he’s all better now.

I, of course, remain skeptical of this. There are some similarities between what Nathan will go through and what Saito did go through. But my guess is there’s far more cases where this didn’t work out at all.

One thought on “Is there hope to save Nathan’s season?

  1. Not every elbow injury is similar, but I can’t help but think of Neshek. When Neshek first hurt his elbow in May of 2008, everybody around the league said that he would need the TJ surgery. When it was announced that he would try rehab instead, everyone again said that it wouldn’t work and that he would need the surgery anyway, and that’s exactly what happened. If Neshek had gone ahead with the surgery right away, he would’ve been able to come back after the All-Star break last year.

    Loek Van Mil, the 7’1′ relief prospect is also struggling with this problem.

    I think in Nathan’s situation, if he waits two weeks and he is not 100%, he should have the surgery right away. We already will be without him for 2010. I don’t want him to miss a significant portion of 2011 because he waited too long to have the surgery this spring.

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