Detroit Tigers’ Joe Nathan Exits Rehab Appearance Early With Apparent Arm Injury


Mar 14, 2015; Lakeland, FL, USA;Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joe Nathan (36) throws a pitch during a spring training baseball game at Joker Marchant Stadium. The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Detroit Tigers 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Nathan took the mound early this afternoon in Toledo to make a rehab appearance, but things didn’t go as planned. Nathan recorded two outs (one via strikeout) before wincing in pain after throwing to his third batter, his tenth pitch of the game. MLive’s James Schmehl was at the game and tweeted the sequence, which included Nathan calling for a traininer, trying to continue pitching, and then exiting the game.

Nathan was talking about returning to the Detroit Tigers as soon as Friday, but now that’s obviously on hold, and Joakim Soria will remain the closer for the foreseeable future.

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Nathan has been out since opening day with a right elbow strain. We’ll have to wait for official word on whether this injury is related (assumption is probably so), and how severe it might be. He was no one’s ideal version of a relief pitcher last season, but he should be expected to be at least a reasonable option in what will ultimately prove to be a weak bullpen (even if he’s not a good closer at this point), so the Tigers will miss him if he’s out long-term.

No one ever knows when it comes to pitcher injuries and elbows. One hates to speculate, but if this is something that would require Tommy John surgery to fix, you’d have to think it would be a career ending situation. No one would like to see that happen to anyone, so let’s hope the prognosis is more optimistic.

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