SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers relievers Joe Nathan and Joakim Soria have 458 saves between them over a combined 17 years in the Majors. That leaves them 150 saves short of the record 608 that Mariano Rivera has over his 18-year career.
Rivera officially announced on Saturday he will retire after the upcoming season, and he commands great respect from those who have also been in the closer's role.
"It's amazing how long he has been able to do it," Nathan said. "Any time you put up numbers like that, it means you've been doing it a long time and have a good team behind you. He'll be the first to say how fortunate he is to have had good teams and good teammates.
"He's the greatest closer in the game. His career was great to follow. He's a guy who is never in trouble and never does anything bad. I'm glad he'll be able to enjoy his family. It will be great to see him pitch this year. He's the best."
Rivera is a 12-time All-Star, with Nathan having served as one of his setup relievers on occasion.
"I was able to get a chance to talk to him briefly at the All-Star Games," Nathan said. "The only thing I spoke to him about pitching is to see what his cutter is about. But it's not a pitch you can teach. With his arm slot and how the ball comes through his hand, it's his pitch that works for him."
"He was a guy I always paid attention to, because he's not flashy after a save. He gets a save and walks off the field. That's something I've always respected and done it myself."
Rivera has 38 career saves against the Rangers, the most all time by an opponent. Troy Percival is second, with 25 followed by Dennis Eckersley and Francisco Rodriguez, both with 24. Rivera has blown five saves against the Rangers, but the leader in that department is Jeff Montgomery with eight.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.