Joe Nathan injury: A torn UCL is the diagnosis for former Ranger closer, and current Detroit Tiger pitcher, Joe Nathan, according to Bob Nightengale on Twitter. Nathan left yesterday's rehab game in pain, and it looked likely he had suffered a significant setback.
A torn UCL necessitates Tommy John surgery to repair, and at the age of 40, facing a 12-18 month rehab process, Nathan likely isn't going to want to go through that. Nathan has done this routine once, having undergone Tommy John surgery in 2010, while with the Twins.
Nathan has had a fascinating career path, starting his career in the Giants organization as an outfielder, converting to pitching, and being dealt to the Twins prior to the 2004 season, along with Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser, in exchange for A.J. Pierzynski.
Nathan had a great run for the Twins prior to TJ surgery, missed 2010, and had a rough 2011. Still, the Rangers opted to sign him prior to the 2012 season in order to allow Neftali Feliz to move to the rotation, and Nathan had a successful two year run as the Rangers' closer. Still, in 2013, it looked like the end was near, and the Rangers made little effort to sign him when he hit free agency after the season. Nathan ended up signing a 2 year, $20 million deal with the Tigers. He struggled in 2014, putting up a 4.81 ERA in 58 IP, and faced only one batter for the Tigers this year.