ARLINGTON -- Joe Nathan earned his first save of the season on Friday, throwing a scoreless ninth inning in the Rangers' 3-2 victory over the Angels. The save was also Nathan's 299th of his career.
He needs one more to become the 24th reliever in Major League history with 300 saves. Only five pitchers have 400 saves and that appears to be Nathan's goal.
"I'm still going out there, grinding and competing," Nathan said. "It's one closer to 400. It's all about competing and helping get us closer to where we want to be and that's back to the postseason."
Nathan has made two appearances in the Rangers' first four games. He struck out the side in a 4-0 victory over the Astros on Wednesday but it wasn't that easy on Friday against the Angels going up against their best hitters. Albert Pujols flied out to deep left and Josh Hamilton lined to center. Nathan walked Mark Trumbo but got Howie Kendrick on a fly to deep center to end the game.
"Yesterday was not easy by any means," Nathan said before Saturday's game against the Angels. "Obviously, there were some balls hit to the wall. The last one by Kendrick was hit the best; the first two kind of got hit off the end of the bat."
Nathan said he is still going through a little "dead arm" period and his velocity is not quite as good as it should be. But he said his location and movement have been good so far.
"It's still early to say that I'm off to a good start," Nathan said. "Hopefully, they will continue to get better and I can continue to progress."
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.Less