Nelson bullish on returning ahead of schedule

Righty had surgery on right shoulder in September, expected back in June

February 15th, 2018

PHOENIX -- Somewhere in the athletic training room at Maryvale Baseball Park, Jimmy Nelson said, is a document that answers the question he has been asked dozens of times since beginning his comeback from shoulder surgery:

When will you be back?

The answer is right there in those pages, which lay out a schedule from the flat-ground throwing sessions that began last month to mound work sometime during Spring Training to game action, all the way to a projected season debut for the Brewers. But Nelson said he hasn't looked at it beyond a passing glance, lest his competitive nature get in the way of his rehab.

Brewers' Spring Training info

"It's not going to do me any good," Nelson said. "The way I see timelines is they're very fluid to me. For me, my goal is to be back with these guys as soon as possible being 100 percent heathy, without doing anything stupid. … The fact that we're this far ahead already, this early in the process, is good."

Nelson's injury is a unique case. He was hurt diving headfirst back to first base at Wrigley Field on Sept. 8 and tore the labrum in the front of his shoulder. That's an injury more associated with football players making a tackle, not pitchers, who typically suffer labrum tears in the back of their shoulders from repetitive use. The belief is that Nelson's tear was less onerous, but his case was complicated by the fact he also tore his rotator cuff and shoulder capsule, which were surgically repaired along with the labrum.

That unique combination of fixes, Nelson said, has made setting a timetable somewhat tricky.

"It's a really frustrating thing, trust me. I've probably had the question 1,000 times this offseason of, 'When will you be back?'" he said. "There's no short way to describe it because of everything that went on and the way it happened."

All Nelson knows is the immediate next step. He has been on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule since resuming throwing last month, but the frequency and distances of those sessions will begin to increase next week.

Meanwhile, Nelson is a nearly full participant in other activities. He has been full-go in the weight room for months, and he took part in the Brewers' first round of pitchers' fielding practice Thursday -- minus the throws to bases.

Brewers re-sign Franklin

Utility man Nick Franklin made a surprise return to Maryvale on Thursday after signing a Minor League contract with an invitation to big league camp. The 26-year-old switch-hitter was listed as an infielder/outfielder.

He played in 53 games for the Brewers last season after coming to Milwaukee on waivers from Tampa Bay, only to be traded to the Angels on June 30 for cash. Franklin produced a .195/.258/.317 slash line in 89 plate appearances for the Brewers.

Last call

• Besides Nelson, the only Brewers pitcher on the medical report is right-hander , who underwent an appendectomy last month and is about three weeks behind the other pitchers, GM David Stearns said. Houser, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2016 and was limited to 13 Minor League games last year, including a stint in the Arizona Fall League, will begin this season in the Minors.

• After giving up his No. 6 to free agent pickup , Brewers third-base coach Ed Sedar has settled on No. 0 as his new digit.

"I figure half the population of Milwaukee has a 'six' because of me," he joked, "so you can just connect the top part and white out the middle and you've got a zero."