Numbers impressive, but Nathan's focus on job

Numbers impressive, but Nathan's focus on job

ARLINGTON -- If Joe Nathan converts his next save opportunity, he will pass Yankees closer Mariano Rivera for the highest career save percentage among pitchers with at least 210 save chances.

With 274 saves, Nathan has converted 89.25 percent of his 307 save opportunities, behind only Rivera, who has converted 608 of 681, good for 89.28 percent.

"It's nice to get back in that mix with him," Nathan said. "To get back at that level and be mentioned with him is always an honor. He's a guy I've always looked up to and respected the way he goes about his business, on and off the field."

Entering Friday, Nathan has not allowed a run in his last 12 appearances and has retired 33 of the last 37 batters he's faced. He has converted 12 of his 13 save opportunities this season and, with 31 strikeouts and only two walks, he also owns the best strikeout-to-walk ratio among Major League relievers.

"Having Joe back there puts a lot of it at ease," reliever Mike Adams said. "We know if we can get him the lead or even in a tie ballgame, we don't have too much to worry about."

"I don't pay attention to numbers," Nathan said. "I'm just going out and trying to get three outs and get whatever the team needs. I'm not paying attention to what I've done in the past. I'm paying attention to what's coming up in the future, trying to relish the moment, and doing what needs to be done that night."