Nelson could progress to mound by mid-April
Next move will help determine timeline from shoulder surgery rehab
MESA, Ariz. -- Jimmy Nelson is up to 105 feet in his throwing program, and his next move is a notable one if the rehabbing Brewers right-hander is to get back on a mound sometime in April.
"That 120 [feet] is a big mark," Nelson said. "We'll hopefully get there sometime next week and probably stay at 120 for a couple of weeks, like we did at 90. Ninety and 120 are big benchmarks. Once you get to 135, 150 [feet], that's when you can start some mound work. It all depends on how I respond to 120."
If the next step goes well, Nelson could be on a mound sometime during the middle of April. Nelson, who underwent right shoulder surgery last September, knows a long road would remain, even after that milestone.
Nelson will stay in Phoenix when the rest of the team travels to Houston on Sunday night for a pair of exhibition games. He will re-join the Brewers in San Diego, then travel home to Milwaukee to continue his rehab at Miller Park.
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So far, so good.
"There's the typical ups and downs you would expect," Nelson said. "Progress nonetheless, and you can't really argue with that."
More injury updates
Catcher Stephen Vogt has next Friday circled on his calendar. That's the date he hopes to test his strained right shoulder by resuming baseball activities.
"I think we're still on a six-week timeframe, so we're looking at May 1 [to get back to game action]," Vogt said. "I've got a big step next Friday in San Diego. That's when we're going to hit again and work back toward throwing.
"The one thing that was really good was that second opinion saying six to eight weeks. That gave me, 'OK, I'm not going to be ready for Opening Day.' Every day I was coming here hoping it was going to be ready to go and hoping it was going to feel better. Getting that helped me get Opening Day out of my mind."
On the pitching front, left-hander Wade Miley said he was relieved when he heard that his agent had worked out a deal to keep him in the Brewers' organization while he rehabs a slightly torn left groin. Miley, who was close to cementing a spot in the starting rotation, will remain on his Minor League contract until he's healthy enough to make a rehab start or two, then will have the right to elect free agency if the Brewers do not have a spot for him on the Major League team.
"My main focus right now is just getting healthy, and then I guess there will be some more decisions to be made," Miley said. "Hopefully I can get back on the mound real shortly."
The Brewers expect Miley will be sidelined 2-4 weeks before getting back on a mound, Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
In his final Spring Training start, rotation hopeful Brandon Woodruff surrendered a leadoff home run to the Cubs' Ian Happ, then kept Chicago off the board until a three-run fifth that included an RBI double by opposing pitcher Tyler Chatwood in Milwaukee's 4-3 loss on Friday at Sloan Park.
"Just compete, and whatever happens, happens," said Woodruff, vying with left-hander Brent Suter and right-hander Junior Guerra for open spots behind Brewers starters Chase Anderson, Zach Davies and Jhoulys Chacin.
Woodruff, Suter and Guerra all have at least one Minor League option.
Woodruff has nothing on the schedule besides a bullpen session on Sunday, the day the Brewers depart Arizona. Counsell declined to say anything on Friday morning about the plan for the Brewers' season-opening series beyond Anderson's start on Opening Day. Chacin will get one of those games, but the Brewers have not said which, nor have they said who will pitch in the other open spot.
Suter still has a "leg up" on making the team, Counsell reiterated, but he didn't say whether that meant Suter would start games or pitch in relief to begin the season. The Brewers are still debating the breakdown of pitchers and position players on the 25-man roster.
"There's a good chance [Suter will do both] because he has the ability to do it," Counsell said. "This is where I get into the 'out-getter' phrase, because we get so stuck on whether he has to be this or this, and he just has to get outs for us."
Chacin will make his final spring tune-up at 2:05 p.m. CT on Saturday against the A's in Mesa (listen live on Gameday Audio). The Brewers still haven't pinned down the date of Chacin's official Brewers debut.