Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the Milwaukee Brewers
news

Nelson progressing, won't be ready for opener

Brewers taking patient approach with right-hander's return from shoulder surgery
March 12, 2019

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Jimmy Nelson bounced back nicely from his long-awaited return to a Major League mound, but he won’t be on the Brewers’ active roster for Opening Day, Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Tuesday. “Our goal is not Opening Day,” Counsell said. In other words, the Brewers will continue

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Jimmy Nelson bounced back nicely from his long-awaited return to a Major League mound, but he won’t be on the Brewers’ active roster for Opening Day, Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Tuesday.

“Our goal is not Opening Day,” Counsell said.

In other words, the Brewers will continue to take a longer view with Nelson, believing he can help defend the National League Central crown even if he is not ready for the season opener. The team can assign him to the injured list while he completes his comeback from shoulder surgery.

That would open a rotation spot for someone else. The Brewers have Jhoulys Chacin lined up to start Opening Day, though Counsell hasn’t made that official. Zach Davies and Chase Anderson follow. The other spots could be filled from a group of up-and-coming right-handers Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta, or non-roster invitee Josh Tomlin.

Nelson’s inning against the White Sox on Monday marked the first time he faced enemy big league hitters since injuring his right shoulder diving back to first base in September 2017. A day after Nelson’s emotional return, Counsell reported that “everything’s good” in terms of Nelson’s recovery from that outing.

He is scheduled to work parts of three innings in his next appearance, which is tentatively scheduled for Saturday.

“It will be normal build-up,” Counsell said. “I do think he needs to log innings. I think that part is important.”

The Brewers are building Nelson’s arm strength to pitch as a starter. To this point, they have not discussed using him as a reliever to ease him back into the Majors, Counsell said.

“That’s just, at this point, where he’s best used,” Counsell said. “He’s shown stuff to get through lineups three times, and if we can get him back to that spot, that would be great. So that’s the first goal, for sure.”

Davies solid vs. Giants

Davies continued to make push toward solidifying his spot near the top of the starting rotation with a 75-pitch outing against the Giants in a game that was shortened because of rain Tuesday at Scottsdale Stadium.

“I threw a lot of good pitches, and I got the pitch count up which is what you’re trying to do at this point of Spring Training,” Davies said. “I can’t really say much about the zone, but I’m just going to keep making pitches and if you complain a little maybe you get a pitch.”

The right-hander ran into trouble early in the first inning when leadoff hitter Steven Duggar reached on an error by second baseman Mike Moustakas and Gerardo Parra followed with a single. But he responded to retire the next three batters in order and struck out the side in the bottom of the second.

Duggar stung Davies again, this time with a one-out triple in the bottom of the third. He escaped the frame unscathed, but wasn’t as fortunate in the next inning.

Brandon Belt led off the fourth with a solo home run on a 3-2 pitch to give the Giants a 1-0 lead, and Davies walked the next hitter, Brandon Crawford, to mark the beginning of the end of his night.

In the end, Davies was charged four runs on six hits in 3 2/3 innings. He walked a batter and struck out three.

“I thought his first three innings were really crisp,” Counsell said. “I thought he threw a bunch of pitches that were strikes. In the fourth inning, he made a pitch in the middle to Belt and the only at-bat I thought he might want back was the Crawford at-bat.”

Last call

• Reliever Jeremy Jeffress played catch a second straight day Tuesday without incident and will take Wednesday off before more intense flat-ground work resumes Thursday, Counsell said. Jeffress was shut down recently because of shoulder weakness and there’s a good chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.

“All signs good so far. Two good days,” Counsell said. “We’ll put him in this program, and he won’t be off a mound until next week.”

• Corey Knebel, who was scheduled to pitch Tuesday, will not pitch Wednesday because he completely warmed up Tuesday night. It’s uncertain if Josh Hader, who was also scheduled to pitch Tuesday, will throw Wednesday.

• Chase Anderson will start for the Brewers opposite Trevor Bauer of the Indians when the Brewers return to afternoon action on Wednesday in Goodyear, Ariz. The 3:05 p.m. CT game will be exclusively available via an MLB.com webcast.