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Updated: February 17th, 2011 9:58am
Nathan: 'This is the best I've felt the day after throwing a bullpen'

Nathan: 'This is the best I've felt the day after throwing a bullpen'

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Roughly 11 months after undergoing Tommy John surgery, Minnesota Twins closer Joe Nathan said he usually expects to feel some tightness in his right elbow the day after throwing a bullpen session.

Tightness, residual soreness and the breaking down of scar tissue is common for pitchers coming off Tommy John surgery.

Nathan felt no such symptoms on Thursday.

After throwing a 40-pitch mound session on Wednesday -- which pitching coach Rick Anderson characterized as "outstanding" -- Nathan said, "This is the best I've felt the day after throwing a bullpen."

Nathan, who casually tossed a football back and forth with right-hander Eric Hacker in the Hammond Field Clubhouse as players trickled in on report day, has been cleared to throw all of his pitches. The biggest obstacle now, he said, is gauging how the elbow feels when he wakes up the next day.

"I expect to wake up in the morning and have (the elbow) feel a little cranky, a little tight. But not today."

Nathan said the next biggest test will come when he eventually throws in back-to-back spring training games.

His next scheduled bullpen session will take place on Friday.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Joe Nathan
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