Nathan lost for the second time Wednesday, working in relief after pitching the day before, giving up three runs in the top of the ninth as the Rangers lost to Seattle 4-3. Nathan has two saves and two losses -- including one blown save -- in four appearances.
"Two things can happen: You get off good, you get off bad," Washington said. "We're going to support Joe Nathan 100 percent. Once he recovers from workload last night, he'll close. If he's in position to close a second night, we'll give him the ball." Nathan was not available to close Thursday, Washington said. Setup man Mike Adams seems to be the logical choice to replace him.
Nathan was adamant that working on consecutive days was not the reason for his failure to close out Wednesday's win. Washington agreed.
"Just some breaking balls up," Washington said. "[Seattle] may not be a prolific offensive team, but before they arrived here they had been putting up runs. They're capable."
The Rangers made an early season change in their bullpen during their run to their first American League championship in 2010, replacing closer Frankie Francisco with rookie Neftali Feliz.
Anyone thinking that was a knee-jerk reaction, or that Washington would make one with Nathan can stop right there, the manager said Thursday while backing the veteran Nathan.
"Frankie was replaced because he was hurting," Washington said. "He wasn't replaced because he blew two games and I decided to do that. Frankie was hurting. He wasn't Frankie Francisco. When Nefi took over, he did such a great job that when Frankie came back we were waiting for Nefi to fail and it never happened. That's a different situation."
Feliz went on to set a Major League rookie record with 40 saves, a record that was broken last season by Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel, who had 46 saves.