ANAHEIM -- Jeremy Jeffress pitched another inning for Triple-A San Antonio on Tuesday, allowing three runs and four hits with two strikeouts as he continued to test the strength of a right shoulder that caused trouble in Spring Training. Barring a setback, he is scheduled to pitch again Wednesday to make it back-to-back outings.
And if both outings went well, could that be the end of his rehab assignment?
“It could be, potentially,” said Brewers assistant GM Matt Arnold. “It’s all going to be dependent on how he’s feeling and what it looks like. Obviously he would need some rest after going back-to-back so we can make sure he’s ready to go, but yeah, if he feels good, there is a chance he could come back.”
That would put Jeffress on track to rejoin the Brewers as soon as Monday for the start of a homestand against the Cardinals and Dodgers.
“It’s about on track” with the original schedule, Arnold said. “It’s nothing super accelerated. He’s just feeling really good. That’s great. It’s awesome that he’s in this spot right now and continuing to increase his velocity, which has looked really good.”
The Brewers began the season without each of their top two right-handed relievers. Jeffress was sidelined in Spring Training by shoulder weakness, which produced radar gun readings in the mid-80 mph and prompted a shutdown. Corey Knebel was felled later in camp by an elbow injury and underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery last week.
Getting Jeffress back would be big for a bullpen anchored by left-hander Josh Hader, who is used differently than a typical closer. Especially if Jeffress returns to form from 2018, when he made a team-high 73 appearances during the regular season with a 1.29 ERA and made the National League All-Star team.
“Getting an All-Star reliever back would be outstanding for us,” Arnold said. “We know what he’s capable of. To add him to the back of our bullpen would be pretty exciting.”
There was also encouraging news Tuesday on right-hander Jimmy Nelson, who threw about 40 pitches over two innings of an extended Spring Training game.
“Really positive report there,” Arnold said. “You don’t want to rush him, either. He hasn’t pitched in over a year. We want to make sure we take him one step at a time. But today was a really positive step.”