ANAHEIM -- Count Rangers closer Joe Nathan as among those who were thrilled to see Mets pitcher Johan Santana throw his no-hitter. The two were teammates with the Twins from 2004-07.
Both have also had their struggles in the past couple of years. Nathan missed all of 2010 because of Tommy John surgery and Santana was sidelined in 2011 with shoulder troubles. Santana won two Cy Young Awards in 2004 and 2006 with Nathan backing him up as an All-Star closer.
"It was good to see because he's had a long road back," Nathan said. "He's really had to battle to get back to where he was. He's not there yet and may never get there, but we all know he knows how to pitch. Last night, he proved you don't have to have a 95 mile per hour fastball to have that changeup working. He's always had that and he had it working last night."
Santana's no-hitter on Friday against the Cardinals was the first of his career and the first in Mets history.
"I was fortunate to be there for his prime years," Nathan said. "It was fun to watch him throw. He made batters look like they were in the box for the first time. He had as good of stuff as anybody. There were teams that thought he was tipping his pitches, but he was so good, it didn't matter."