Joe Nathan appeared in the clubhouse today and has begin the process of strengthening the area around his right elbow in hopes that he can, somehow, pitch with a torn ulnar collateral ligament.

``I'd like to know by the end of next week what we're going to do,'' he said.

In addition to Birmingham specialist Dr. James Andrews, Nathan's MRI results will be sent to former Mets physician Dr. David Altchek to examined too. The goal is to get as much information as possible before Nathan, his agent, Dave Pepe, and the Twins sit down to determine his fate.

But, let's be honest. It's a long shot. One Twins official put Nathan's chances of pitching soon at, ``infinitesimal.'

Team Strib has been debating how to rank the top three closer candidates on the current roster. My top three have been Jon Rauch, Matt Guerrier and Jose Mijares. One other Stribber has Mijares second.

Mijares would be interesting. I think his stuff is nasty. He can get lefties and righties out when he's going good. If the Twins keep him out of trouble, he could dominate for years.

It might be worth a look once the season starts.



1. Nolan Reimold, DH

2. Robert Andino, 2B

3. Markakis, RF

4. Luke Scott, LF

5. Garret Atkins, 1B

6. Josh Bell, 3B

7. Jeff Salazar, CF

8. Chad Moeller, C

9. Pedro Florimon, SS

Pitching: Kevin Millwood, Koji Uehara, Jim Johnson

Twins  - Opening Day lineup?

1. Span, CF

2. Hudson, 2B

3. Mauer, C

4. Morneau, 1B

5. Cuddyer, RF

6. Kubel, DH

7.  Young, LF

8. Hardy, SS

9. Punto, 3B

Pitching: Baker, then Liriano, Rauch, Guerrier, Maroth and others.



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