Joe Nathan pitched only one inning in the major leagues in 2015 before undergoing his second Tommy John surgery. The Cubs signed him to a major-league deal May 17, and after 11 rehab appearances in the Cubs system (9⅓ innings, three hits, five walks, nine strikeouts, 3.86 ERA, 0.857 WHIP), he's been deemed ready for the big-league bullpen.
Nathan has been around a long time. Among his teammates his rookie year with the Giants in 1999 was Stan Javier, who is now 52 and who made his major-league debut in 1984. He was once traded for A.J. Pierzynski.
Hey, maybe it'll work. Reports from Nathan's rehab outings show him with 91-92 mile per hour velocity and showing good location. The Cubs could use him as a seventh-inning bridge to Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon, or in the later innings if those two aren't available.
I was skeptical about this signing when it happened. I'll be happy to be wrong if Nathan can help this bullpen.
To make room for Nathan on the 25-man roster, Adam Warren's heading back to Triple-A Iowa:
Warren optioned— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) July 24, 2016
Warren's performance has been up-and-down this year, but give him credit for that nice play at the plate Saturday after he threw a wild pitch. He got stretched out to start the last time he was at Iowa, so that might wind up happening again.
The Cubs' 40-man roster was at 39, so adding Nathan to the 40-man doesn't require an additional move there. The 40-man roster is now full.
There's been no official announcement on this, but I'm going to assume Nathan will wear No. 36, as it's available and he's worn it throughout his major-league career.