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July 28, 2013

Joe Nathan: I've never worried about [trade talk] and I'm not going to start now

CLEVELAND -- Joe Nathan walked into the visiting clubhouse at Progressive Field on Sunday morning, and was greeted with news that the Texas Rangers have considered trading him.

His reaction?

"I didn't hear diddly," Nathan said. "I've never worried about this stuff and I'm not going to start now. I'm going to play and try and help this team win. As far as my thought process, I'm battling with this team to get us to the postseason. This is the first time I've heard about it."

Nathan signed a two-year deal with the Rangers prior to the 2012 season, and the team holds a $9 million option for next season. That becomes a mutual option, however, if Nathan reaches 55 games finished, which he is well on pace for with 39 games finished at this point.

Nathan has a limited, three-team no trade clause in his contract, although it's not known which teams are on it.

Regardless, Nathan's preference is to stay with the Rangers, who have fallen five games behind the A's in the American League West.

"I've obviously enjoyed myself here, enjoy this team," Nathan said. "I'm assuming I'm going to be here the rest of the year and I'm assuming I'm going to grind it out with the boys in here and try to get us back to the postseason. We know we've been in a funk, but we also know we're still in the hunt."

Nathan, 38, has converted 32 of 34 saves and has a 1.73 ERA this season. He would certainly be an attractive piece for a contending team with a need for a closer, but the Rangers would have to be overwhelmed with an offer to part with him.

One of the Rangers' strengths is their bullpen, and they have internal options to replace him. Joakim Soria, a former All-Star closer, has impressed in his return from a second Tommy John elbow surgery. Tanner Scheppers also has the tools to possibly be viewed as a closer.

The Rangers also expect former closer Neftali Feliz (Tommy John surgery) to return at some point this season.

Nathan is well aware of this and understands the business side of the game.

"I know they have options, I'm not naive to it," Nathan said. "Obviously I'd like to stay here, I like this organization, but I know I put myself in position where things will be OK either way."

-- Drew Davison

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