Joe Nathan was introduced by the Rangers as their new closer Tuesday, his 37th birthday. He signed a two-year, $14.5 million contract that includes a club option for a third year at $9 million.
The Rangers' recent success, which includes back-to-back World Series appearances, was a big reason for him turning away other offers. He also says that he expects to be in his All-Star form by spring training, nearly two years after having Tommy John surgery.
Here's a sampling of what he had to say a news conference at Rangers Ballpark:
On why he selected the Rangers: "Them getting to the postseason and getting to the World Series is definitely huge, and knowing what type of club this is and the success they’ve had played a huge factor."
On his return to form in 2011: "When I came back from the disabled list in June, that was a huge turning point for me. It seemed like each month got better and better for me — the way I felt and the way I was finishing pitches. The feel started coming back for me with each month. I really feel like going into the off-season and coming into spring, I should feel even better than I did at the end of September. I’m excited about that."
On being considered a good make-up guy: "Just making a comfortable clubhouse for guys, all the way from rookies to guys who have been in the league for 20 years. It's about not making guys uncomfortable and not making guys feel like they've got to walk around on egg shells. I got chance to learn from some pretty good teammates along the way with Jim Thome being on top of that list. I'll go even way back to the Giants. I got to play with a guy like Ellis Burks and got a chance to learn how he treated everybody the same."
On his pitches coming around: "I was able to fine-tune my breaking balls. I used my curveball a lot more last year. I was able to command it a lot better on both sides of the plate. That got a little better as I was trying to battle back and didn't trust my fastball early. My curveball got a little bit better. Trying to use movement a little bit more, that got better. My command and my comfort level with throwing two-seam fastballs and even mixing in changeups ... I try to make other pitches better when my velocity wasn't there."
-- Jeff Wilson