FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Joe Nathan knew every one of his outings this spring wouldn't go as easily as the first four had gone.
On Sunday, the Twins right-hander got his first test of adversity in his comeback from Tommy John surgery. The Phillies tagged him for six runs on five hits in one-third of an inning. But Nathan said the biggest thing for him was that he felt good physically throughout the outing.
"Not a pretty inning by any means, but good thing is that I came out of it and felt good," Nathan said. "If I'm going to throw a lot of pitches like that, at least it felt good."
Nathan, who hadn't allowed a hit in his previous four scoreless appearances, didn't get any breaks either. Center fielder Ben Revere lost a ball in the sun, which resulted in a double to start the inning. A perfectly placed bunt by Freddy Galvis followed, and later in the inning, Delmon Young dropped a fly ball in foul territory down the left field line following a long run.
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"Obviously it's not going to be 1-2-3, perfect innings every time you get out there, so this was kind of nice to get one of these out of the way," Nathan said. "Obviously, you don't go out there planning for this to happen, but I left some pitches up and they hit them. I threw some good pitches. It seemed like one of those innings where no matter what I threw up there, they were going to find a hole or find the sun, or place balls where we just can't get them."
Nathan, who is a little over 11 months removed from Tommy John surgery, said that despite the results, he felt better than he had in any of his other outings this spring. And that's just what the Twins want to hear from the four-time All-Star.
"He was up a bit and got some pitches over the middle," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "But the bottom line is that the ball was coming out of his hand good and that's all we care about right now with him.
"Runs are runs. You miss a couple plays and you end up giving runs up. That's just the way it is. But I'm just happy because he's healthy and he said he felt great."