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Yankees rumors: New York interested in Joe Nathan, but waiting

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The Yanks plan on dealing with their positional needs before adding to the bullpen, but they're at least keeping an eye on one of the market's top relievers.

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The New York Yankees are interested in free-agent closer Joe Nathan, but are unlikely to go after him before addressing "more pressing needs" elsewhere on the diamond, reports Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News.

Rumors of the Yankees' interest in the veteran closer are not exactly new, but this is the first to indicate that the club intends on pursuing other pieces before finding a replacement for Mariano Rivera. According to Feinsand, these "needs" are free agents Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran, whom the team is hoping can fill holes behind the plate and in the outfield.

Nathan isn't the only reliever to appear alongside the Yankees on the rumor mill. Former A's closer Grant Balfour and Giants lefty specialist Javier Lopez -- who is close to re-upping with San Francisco -- have also been tied to the club, so if Nathan drops off the table before the Bombers solve their other issues, it's unlikely they'll be without other viable options.

Nathan, 39, was a godsend for the Rangers in his two seasons with the club. Signed with fingers crossed at the end of 2011, the veteran right-hander no ill effects in his return from Tommy John surgery. He posted a 2.09 ERA better than 10 strikeouts per nine over 129 innings during his time in Arlington, and his 80 saves over that span are sure to get him a hefty salary on the open market.

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