Nathan to pitch exclusively in save opportunities

Nathan to pitch exclusively in save opportunities

BOSTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington has often used Joe Nathan in non-save situations this season. Washington would like to stop doing that.

Nathan earned his 22nd save on Tuesday night in a 6-3 victory over the Red Sox. But Washington had Alexi Ogando warming up next to Nathan in the top of the ninth inning while the Rangers had a rally going. If the Rangers had taken a four-run lead -- eliminating a save situation -- Washington said he was going to use Ogando to finish the game.

"Since we're going down the stretch and with the workload that Nathan has taken on, I'm not going to let him come out there in a non-save situation," Washington said. "I'm going to try and use him in save situations and save some bullets."

Nathan was used in two non-save situations last week in Arlington, and he ended up throwing 62 pitches on Wednesday and Thursday. The Rangers had to give him two days off to recover, and then didn't use him Sunday or Monday. So Nathan had four days off before taking the mound on Tuesday night.

"Having two days off helps you physically and gives you a mental break," Nathan said. "Getting the extra two days helped, as well. I felt really good last night, my pitches were crisp, my breaking ball felt sharper and I had a little more life on my fastball."

Nathan has now been successful on 20 consecutive save opportunities, one shy of the club record for one season, set by Francisco Cordero with 21 straight in 2004. The Rangers' five blown saves are the fewest in the Majors.