Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 4/12/12
ARLINGTON, Texas -- New Texas closer Joe Nathan hasn't exactly gotten off to the quick start that he would have liked this year but he's not panicking. Neither are the Rangers, who have confidence that Nathan will find his stride soon. He also doesn't have to worry about job security. "Joe Nathan is proven and he's going to get his opportunity with the Texas Rangers to prove he can close games," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "I don't want him looking over his back. I don't want him doubting himself. I'm telling you guys right now he's my closer and when he's ready to go again he's going to get the ball." Nathan, who has a 9.00 ERA and the team's only two losses, wasn't available Thursday after pitching in back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday. He recorded his second save Tuesday but was tagged for three runs on four hits in a 4-3 loss to Seattle Wednesday. Nathan isn't concerned about his start either. In his first loss he got beat by Alex Rios on a pitch he wanted to throw. Wednesday night he now thinks he should have thrown more fastballs. The velocity is there and he has more confidence in the pitch than he did last year in his return from Tommy John surgery. Instead he struggled with his slider and the Mariners took advantage of it. "It wasn't like they were terrible pitches last night," Nathan said. "When a big-league hitter is getting up and can pinpoint what you throw, it's got to be perfect." Nathan said he doesn't have any concerns about his body. He said he's healthy and is confident he can pitch in back-to-back games even though he's only done if five times in the last two years. The Rangers have had quick hooks with closers before but the circumstances were different. Two years ago Frank Francisco was replaced as the closer by Neftali Feliz after blowing two saves in the season's first week. That situation was different because Francisco wasn't 100 percent healthy. Once Francisco was healthy again, Feliz had established himself and Washington wasn't going to change closers again. Nathan doesn't seem too concerned either. "For me it's playing baseball," Nathan said. "Keep going through the grind and keep trying to get better and better no matter where you are in your career. That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to learn from last night." No changing Andrus Elvis Andrus, who got a scheduled day off Thursday, hit a rare home run in Wednesday's 4-3 loss to the Mariners. The homer was just the 12th of his career. While Washington liked what he saw, he doesn't want Andrus to change his approach at the plate. "I hope that doesn't become a habit," Washington said. "Elvis is at his best when he can punch the ball to right field, hit it up the middle and stuff like that. He's strong enough now where he can hit the ball out of the park but I don't want that to become a habit."
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