Joe Nathan to have Tommy John surgery?

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Joe Christensen, Twins’ closer Joe Nathan has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament and will decide whether or not to have Tommy John surgery within the next two weeks.

If Nathan opts to go with the surgery, he would miss the entire 2010 season and leave the Twins without a closer. Nathan says that he will do whatever he can to give himself the “best chance to go out there and help” the Twins, but also realizes that he has to decide soon whether or not to have surgery because the club needs to figure out its closer situation.

Jon Rauch was added to Minnesota’s bullpen in August, so he may be asked to close for the Twins at the start of the season, or at least until the club finds a more suitable option. Matt Guerrier is also a candidate after pitching extremely well (2.36 ERA, 33 holds, 0.97 WHIP) in 2009.

Hopefully Nathan won’t need surgery but at this point, it’s probably wise to count him out for the 2010 season. Fantasy owners should take note.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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