There is also the confidence Guerrier has in knowing that he can recover from tough situations. That experience came from bouncing back after the 2008 season, when he went from being one of the club's most frequently used pitchers in the first half to one struggling down the stretch.After posting a 3.35 ERA in 51 innings in the first half of 2008, Guerrier saw that the large number of innings he was pitching had started take a toll. Over the final two months, he posted a 10.07 ERA in 19 2/3 frames. Guerrier never used fatigue as an excuse, although the Twins' coaching staff admits it likely played a factor. "We probably overpitched him in '08," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We threw him too many innings and wore him out more than anything else. He's easy to call down to the bullpen and get up, because he always takes the ball and does a good job." Guerrier led the league in appearances (79) again in 2009 and his inning count was the same as the previous year (76 1/3 innings in '08 and '09). But there were some differences. The Twins tried to limit the number of times they had him warming up in the 'pen, and Guerrier said he learned a little about his mental approach to the game. "I sat back and thought, 'If I'm thinking about this, I'm not thinking about bad things,'" Guerrier said. "So I've tried to keep the same thoughts in my head every time I go out there. I don't think about what's going to happen or what could happen or what happened the day before. Every day of '08, I was trying to forget the day before. I was doing a good job of it, but [I was] still getting my butt kicked. So even when I had success, I remembered '08 and told myself to forget the good ones as well." The biggest thing, Guerrier said, was that he didn't make any drastic alterations following that 2008 season. He realized that sticking with what had gotten him to this point in his career might be the best thing, and that's exactly what he did. It led to success, as he posted a 5-1 record with a 2.36 ERA, which was the ninth-lowest ERA among relievers with at least 50 innings pitched. Guerrier and Nathan are close friends, so the reliever admits it's been especially tough to see Nathan go through this kind of season-ending injury. Guerrier, like many of his teammates, has stressed how it's impossible to replace a guy like Nathan, who has led the league in saves since 2004. Still, the feeling is that there are guys in the clubhouse that can do the job. And while it's not an easy situation to step into, Guerrier said he'd gladly close if that's what the coaches choose. "At times, when I've been out there for that situation, I feel confident," said Guerrier, who has four career saves. "I think if you are in the bullpen, that's what you want to do at some point in your career -- have a chance to set up and then to close. Obviously you wouldn't want it to happen in this scenario, but I would love the opportunity."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less