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Twins pitcher Joe Nathan in the fourth inning during Tuesday's outing vs. the Red Sox. The appearance was Nathan's first time pitching in a game since March 6, 2010. Carlos Gonzalez, Dml - Star Tribune

Nathan all smiles after scoreless-inning debut

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FORT MYERS, FLA. - Twins righthander Joe Nathan on Tuesday was more nervous for a spring game than a veteran with his credentials should be.

"At the same time, it was a big step for me," he said.

His past year has been filled with baby steps and bigger steps. Tuesday's game was a major checkpoint on his road back to the majors, and he breezed through it with a scoreless fourth inning in a game the Twins dropped 5-0 to Boston at Hammond Stadium.

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