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Twins' Reliever Nathan Ahead Of Schedule

The competition between Joe Nathan and Matt Capps for the closer's role with the Minnesota Twins may start a little earlier than anybody may have originally anticipated.

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According to Tom Verducci of SI.com, Nathan is already throwing off of a mound. He's throwing fast balls and all of his breaking pitches off of the mound. It's beginning to sound more and more like Nathan is going to be ready by the start of Spring Training rather than after the beginning of the season as had originally been anticipated.

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Said Twins general manager Bill Smith, "Joe has had a tremendous run. I don't think he's had one single setback day. The guy he's hoping to duplicate is Billy Wagner, who was about the same age and came back in just under a year."

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Capps and Nathan are going to be one pricey 1-2 combination at the end of ball games. . .they're both slated to make over $7 million this season. But if Nathan can return to his pre-Tommy John surgery form, there's no reason that they also can't be the best 1-2 punch in the league, too.

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Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.