All-Star Joe Nathan clearly back in form

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There was a time, during the long and arduous rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery in 2010 and 2011, when Joe Nathan wasn't thinking about returning to the All-Star Game for a fifth time.

The fixture in the Minnesota Twins' bullpen just wondered if he could even pitch in the big leagues again.

"I was answering questions, not from other people, but questions I had for myself," said Nathan, now the Texas Rangers' closer. "Can I get back to this level? Can I get back to the way I was throwing before? You can't let the thought of, 'This might never happen,' or the doubt creep in, but it's tough.

"You've got to go out and go through the work and put the time in and hope that all the hours that you put in and the days you put in trying to get this thing back is not going to go all for naught."

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