Joe Nathan entered Target Field and eventually made his way to the home clubhouse, a walk he has made many times. This one felt strange, even awkward.

Any uneasiness quickly disappeared, however, as he reconnected with a dozen former teammates and coaches inside the Twins clubhouse on Friday. Though he wears a different uniform now, Nathan, the Twins' all-time saves leader, seemed to enjoy his first homecoming and the nostalgia that accompanied it.

"I miss these guys for sure," he said. "This place was very good to me for a long time, so it's nice to be back."

Nathan's visit also served as a reminder that his current team, the Texas Rangers, operates in a different realm than his previous employer. He departed a 99-loss team and joined one coming off back-to-back World Series appearances and espouses a win-right-now mentality.

That explains the nervousness that Nathan's first week as the team's new closer generated within that fan base. In four appearances, he went 0-2 with two saves, one blown save and a 9.00 ERA.

It's never ideal when a manager feels compelled to defend his closer publicly so early in the season, but that's the position the Rangers' Ron Washington took the past few days, saying he knew Nathan "wasn't going to be perfect."

"Joe is the closer," Washington said.

Nathan didn't get the nod Friday in a save situation, however. Alexi Ogando pitched the ninth inning of a 4-1 victory, an interesting development since Nathan got the day off Thursday as well. Washington said he simply wanted to give Nathan an extra day's rest.