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Joe Nathan named MLB Delivery Man of the Month

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           Joe Nathan of the Texas Rangers has been selected as the winner of the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Month Award for June, marking the fourth career monthly honor for the right-hander. Nathan previously won while pitching for the Minnesota Twins in July 2006, July 2008 and June 2009. He joins six-time All-Star Trevor Hoffman as the only four-time winners of the award. This Major League Baseball award recognizes the most outstanding relief pitcher during each month of the regular season as voted on by a panel from Major League Baseball.

           Nathan appeared in 14 games during the month and converted each of his 11 save opportunities. The five-time All-Star posted a 0.63 ERA, permitting one run on six hits with three walks and 15 strikeouts over 14.1 innings while holding opposing hitters to a .133 mark. His 11 saves were tied for the Major League lead and his ERA ranked sixth among Major League relievers with at least 12.0 innings pitched. The 38-year-old began the month with back-to-back two-strikeout performances against the Kansas City Royals at Rangers Ballpark on June 1st and 2nd, collecting a save and securing a series victory for the Rangers on the 2nd. The sixth round pick (by San Francisco) in the 1995 Draft allowed just a single baserunner over his first six appearances of the month (spanning 6.0 innings), yielding a walk on June 9th at Toronto. The SUNY Stony Brook product earned saves on four consecutive days from June 20th-23rd, tying a Club record by earning saves in four straight team games. It also marked the fifth time in his career that he accomplished the feat, and the first since July 28-31, 2007 with Minnesota. Nathan, who worked a perfect 1.1 innings with one strikeout on June 29th at home against the Cincinnati Reds, is 1-0 on the season with a 1.51 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 35.2 innings pitched. He is tied for second in the Majors with 27 saves on the season, and he has posted a 0.87 ERA (two earned runs in 20.2 innings pitched) over his last 21 games since May 18th with 15 saves, four walks and 20 strikeouts.

           Other relievers receiving votes included Royals closer Greg Holland (1-0, 1.38 ERA, 13 G, 9 SV, 13.0 IP, 2 ER, 24 SO, 2 BB); Glen Perkins (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 11 G, 9 SV, 11.0 IP, 12 SO, 1 BB) of the Twins; and Miami Marlins closer Steve Cishek (1-0, 0.75 ERA, 13 G, 9 SV, 12.0 IP, 1 ER, 12 SO, 1 BB).

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