TORONTO -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire announced Thursday that right-handed relievers Joe Nathan and Matt Capps will share the closer duties early in the season until Nathan proves he is fully healthy and can pitch multiple days in a row.
"We know our closer situation and how we're going to handle that," Gardenhire said via conference call. "We've talked to Joe and Capper about it. We know Joe can't go three, four or five days in a row, or maybe even two, so we'll protect him early. We have two pretty good ones there."
Nathan, recovering from Tommy John surgery that forced him to miss all of the 2010 season, finished spring with a 9.72 ERA, but allowed all nine of his earned runs in two appearances against the Phillies and didn't allow an earned run in any of his other seven outings. He made one two-inning appearance in a Minor League game last week and pitched on back-to-back days on Thursday and Friday.
Capps posted a perfect 0.00 ERA over 10 innings in 10 appearances in Grapefruit League play but did blow a save against the Braves at Turner Field on Tuesday, when he allowed two unearned runs to score in the bottom of the ninth inning of an eventual 4-2 loss.