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Tigers Officially Sign Nathan; Dombrowski Says Getting Closer ‘Always A Goal Of Ours’

DETROIT (CBS Detroit) The Detroit Tigers held a press conference Wednesday to officially announce the signing of free agent closer Joe Nathan, who inked a two-year deal worth $20 million with the team Monday, a day after the team traded away starter Doug Fister.

Last season, Nathan saved 43 of 46 chances with a 1.39 ERA with 73 strikeouts in 64 2/3 innings pitched. Nathan, 39, a six-time All-Star, had Tommy John surgery that knocked him out for the 2010 season.

Dave Dombrowski spoke at the press conference, saying “This was always a goal of ours, to be in a position where we’re in the position to sign a premium closer.”

For his part, Nathan said, “It’s about making pitches, no matter what the ballpark’s like … When I’m out there it’s about throwing strikes.”

97.1 The Ticket’s Pat Caputo said Nathan’s signing was a good move, writing, “Despite being in his late 30s, Nathan still has superior stuff. He struck out far more than a hitter per inning last year and his WHIP was a very impressive .897. He is still a premier closer.”

Nathan said he had talked to Torii Hunter and he lobbied on his behalf, adding, “I appreciate his work.”

Many feel like the final shoe hasn’t dropped in the Tigers’ trades for next season after a blockbuster deal took slugger Prince Fielder off the roster. So, what’s next for the Tigers?

“We’ll go to the winter meetings and see if we can improve our ball club in various ways,” Dombrowski said.

Dombrowski bristled at a question about whether the Tigers got the best trade deal for Fister, calling the criticism from some in the league that they would have offered more for him had they known he was on the market “upsetting.”

Nathan was upbeat about the deal that brought him to Detroit, saying it will be an honor to play alongside teammates like Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera.

“I’m going to learn a lot from them and hopefully get better,” Nathan said, adding, “I think this club has always been a club I admired, and it always looked like they were having a good time playing this game … I think it’s going to be a lot of fun playing with this team. And we can produce a lot of wins, and that’s what this is all about.”

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