Joba Chamberlain to spell Tigers closer Joe Nathan when needed

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers set-up man Joba Chamberlain will be closing when Joe Nathan needs a day off.

DETROIT--Joe Nathan has been brought in for a save situation for the last three consecutive nights. After the last two performances yielded a blown save and a near miss, it may be time for a break. But Tigers manager Brad Ausmus is not about to give away the secrets of relievers who are available.

However, Ausmus said on Friday that in the event he needed to give Nathan a break, Joba Chamberlain would serve as the Tigers closer for the foreseeable future. "If we thought there was a day where Joe needed rest, the way Joba has pitched, Joba would be the guy to close out a game for us," Ausmus told reporters.

Nathan began the 2014 season with what he referred to as a ‘dead arm' but he pitched through it and settled back into the role that the Tigers had brought him on for. Since April 20 Nathan hadn't allowed a run in 13 innings while striking out 13 batters and only walking four.

Until May 21 when the Tigers played the Cleveland Indians and Nathan allowed two runs (both earned) in the ninth inning, he hadn't blown a save since April 9. But the last two games have been a struggle for Nathan, so while Ausmus isn't saying specifically whether Nathan will sit out Friday's series opener against the Seattle Mariners, it's not out of the realm of possibilities.

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