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Saturday, April 6, 2013
Buzz: Nathan closes in on 300 saves

By Todd Wills

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Joe Nathan can become the 24th pitcher in major league history to join the 300-save club the next time he closes out a game. Maybe he'll get the chance Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels.

He's already looking ahead at the next milestone.

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"I'm still kind of going through the grind and just competing," Nathan said. "For me it's just one step closer to 400."

Nathan, who followed up three strikeouts in his first outing against Houston with his first save in Friday's 3-2 victory over the Angels, said Saturday that he is going through a dead-arm stage after the longest spring training in club history.

"I might be in the middle of one those things where I'm feeling good out there, but I might be going through one of those dead arm things," Nathan said. "As far as how I feel, everything feels great as far as discomfort out there. There's no discomfort. Do I feel strong? Not really."

Nathan has a touch more velocity at this point last season, he said, so he's using more two-seam fastballs to get more movement.

"I feel like I've been able to move the ball around a little bit and locate pretty decently," Nathan said. "Use some movement when I need to, so that's helped a lot."

That helped him Friday.

He needed 12 pitchers to punch out three Astros hitters Wednesday, but everyone has this season. The Angels proved to be more difficult to get out Friday. Albert Pujols just missed a home run to left field. Howie Kendrick hit a screaming line drive to center field that Craig Gentry caught for the final out of the game.

"Albert and Josh hit there's off the end of the bat," Nathan said. "Kendrick's was the hardest hit ball of the inning."

Other Rangers Notes:

Hamilton's family gets extra security Friday: The Angels requested more security during Friday's game for Josh Hamilton's wife Katie and their children because of over-exuberant fans, team spokesman John Blake said Saturday.

The Rangers sent down two extra security guards. The issue was verbal in nature and no one was ejected. Katie and the children never moved from their seats.

"They stayed. The security stayed. It is what it is," Hamilton said before Saturday's game. "It’s cool to get ragged on about normal things. But when you get a little swearing and jawing back at Katie and saying inappropriate things, it’s a little different story."

Hamilton's family will be in a suite for Saturday's game, so the Rangers don't expect any issues.

Moreland starts slow: First baseman Mitch Moreland has started without a hit in his first 13 at-bats. He's tied for the AL lead with Adam Lind for the most at-bats without a hit to begin the season.

Manager Ron Washington said Moreland just needs to shorten his swing. Moreland has four strikeouts. He does have an RBI on sacrifice fly.

"At times he's just been a little too big," Washington said. "He'll get back to shortening."

Moreland was pinch hit for by right-handed hitter Jeff Baker in the eighth inning Friday with the game tied at 2-2. That's because Angels left-hander Scott Downs, who is tough on lefties, was in the game, Washington said. Craig Gentry had reached on a one-out single in front of Moreland.

"If Gentry doesn't get on the bag, (Moreland) hits," Washington said.

No Soto yet: Washington said before Saturday's game that he still hasn't decided if Geovany Soto will get his first start at catcher Sunday, or if A.J. Pierzynski will play for the sixth straight game. Yu Darvish will start the night game for the Rangers.

The Rangers are playing a day game Saturday followed by a night game Sunday, so it's a reversal of the typical weekend setup when the Rangers are at home. Soto will likely get most of the starts in that case.

Darvish ready: Yu Darvish still hasn't had any lingering problems with a blister on the inside of his ring finger, and he is ready to go for Sunday night against Jared Weaver and the Angels. Washington said he's not worried about Darvish's pitch count after he threw 111 pitches Tuesday against Houston.

Beltre, Pierzynski honored:
Third baseman Adrian Beltre will be presented with his 2012 Rawlings Platinum and Gold Gloves for defensive excellence. It is Beltre's fourth Gold Glove award. Also, catcher A.J. Pierzynski will be get his 2012 Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award after a 32-homer season with the Chicago White Sox.

Lewis faces hitters: RHP Colby Lewis (right flexor pronator surgery rehab) was scheduled to throw to hitters for the first time Saturday. Lewis said he will pitch around six sessions of batting practice and return from extended spring training in a month or so.