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Andy Behrens

5U: Nathan has 'significant' UCL tear; Strasburg, Chapman debut

Andy Behrens
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The Joe Nathan(notes) news is every bit as bad as feared. He reportedly has a "significant tear" in his right ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), which obviously makes Tommy John surgery a strong possibility.

This via the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

Nathan will get a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews, the renowned orthopedic surgeon who removed bone spurs and chips from the right-hander's elbow this offseason. In the meantime, Nathan will let the soreness he's still feeling after injuring his pitching arm on Saturday subside, then try to rehab for the next one to two weeks before deciding whether to have surgery.

So that's all kinds of bad. The strongest in-house candidates to replace him are Matt Guerrier(notes), Jon Rauch(notes), Pat Neshek(notes), Jose Mijares(notes) and Jesse Crain(notes) – and if we were drafting today, that's the order in which I'd rank 'em). Of course the Twins could also make a play for Heath Bell(notes), Kerry Wood(notes), or one of the Toronto semi-closers. There are options, and it's only March 9. Please stay tuned.

Early reports that Aroldis Chapman(notes) had hit 102 mph on the radar gun in his spring debut were, apparently, false. He topped out at 100. And his slider reached the low-90s. The final line was rather impressive: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K.

Stephen Strasburg(notes) nearly matched Chapman's line in his exhibition start on Tuesday afternoon, pitching two scoreless frames against Detroit. He allowed two hits, no walks, struck out two (including Miguel Cabrera(notes)), and reached 98 on the gun.

Nats manager Jim Riggleman has strongly suggested that Strasburg will begin the season in the minors, regardless of the quality of his spring performance:

"I think it's going to come down to a philosophical decision more so than a performance decision," Riggleman said. "We anticipate that he is going to throw great."

So far: pretty great.

For those who enjoy checking out other men's drafts, Fake Teams is reviewing LABR rosters. Enjoy, voyeurs.

Over at Fangraphs, Dave Golebiewski reviews the Madison Bumgarner situation (terrific history, velocity worries). It's worth a look for those in dynasty formats.

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