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Updated: March 27th, 2011 10:37am
On Nathan closing, Gardenhire envisions 'probably something like that'

On Nathan closing, Gardenhire envisions 'probably something like that'

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Despite still trying to find his slider, Minnesota Twins right-hander Joe Nathan will likely resume his role as closer.

At least, for the most part.

"I would imagine we'll start out probably something like that," manager Ron Gardenhire told 1500 ESPN on Saturday when asked if Nathan will begin the season as the team's closer.

"We like what he's doing. I think the big thing is to see how he does early in the season and go from there."

Gardenhire said the biggest question mark is whether Nathan can pitch more than two days in a row, in which case Matt Capps would step in for a save opportunity.

"We're going to use them both right away," Gardenhire said. "I just don't think Nathan is ready to go three-four days in a row."

This spring, Capps has yet to allow a run in eight appearances. Nathan has given up runs in two of his eight appearances, all to the Philadelphia Phillies, which has inflated his ERA to 11.05.

But Nathan -- who said earlier in the week he "absolutely" feels comfortable handling ninth-inning duties -- has reported no ill effects health-wise, which is the most important factor for him and the organization.

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
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