Nathan starting to rediscover heater

Nathan starting to rediscover heater

MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Joe Nathan turned in perhaps his most impressive outing of the year against the Dodgers on Tuesday, as his fastball showed more velocity and life than it has at any point this season.

Nathan, who was activated from the disabled list on Friday after experiencing a setback in his comeback from last year's Tommy John surgery, looked more like his old self against the Dodgers.

According to MLB.com's Pitch-f/x data, Nathan's fastball averaged 93.2 mph.

"I'm trusting my fastball right now, which is nice," Nathan said. "Before, I was definitely throwing a lot of breaking balls and not working off my fastball. I was able to throw my heater, and the times that I did go to a breaking ball, it made them more effective. I think I only threw two breaking balls."

Nathan was correct, as 15 of his 17 pitches were fastballs. He used those heaters to overpower Dodgers hitters, striking out Matt Kemp, getting Juan Uribe to ground out and fanning James Loney to end the eighth inning.

"I think that's one of the things he had talked about -- being able to use his fastball a lot more," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He went out there, and we were looking for breaking balls, and he kept pumping fastballs. So I guess he was serious last time he said that."