Finally, news to be excited about for Milwaukee Brewers fans this winter. Jimmy Nelson, rehabbing from shoulder surgery, is ahead of schedule. Nelson could begin his throwing program as early as Friday.
The Milwaukee Brewers didn’t expect Jimmy Nelson to start throwing until Spring Training. However, Nelson has done everything he can to accelerate the process.
Nelson has always been lauded for his work ethic. He has attacked his rehab with the same vigor as he goes after a hitter in a 3-2 count. Nelson reportedly purchased a hyperbaric chamber to aid in his recovery this off season. That purchase is already paying dividends for him and for the Brew Crew.
With Nelson healthy, the Brewers were a team on the cusp of postseason play last year. After injuring his shoulder, Milwaukee just didn’t have enough pitching to help shoulder the load, pun intended. Who knows how different the end of last season would have played out had Nelson stayed healthy.
What does this news mean for the rotation?
Nelson’s injury has loomed large over the Brewers this entire off-season, making it hard to know where this organization is truly at. Fans want to see the team sign one of the many available starters still available in free agency. However, signing a pitcher now might end up blocking a young pitcher down the road. Believe it or not, the Milwaukee Brewers actually have pitching on the way from the Minors.
With Nelson ahead of schedule, it is possible Milwaukee isn’t in as dire a situation as they were a month ago. It is still a very real possibility that Nelson doesn’t see the mound until after the All-Star Break, if at all, in 2018. However, this is a promising sign that he will indeed make a few starts in Milwaukee this year.
Nelson was pitching at the highest level of his career before the injury. He definitely had the look of a future top of the rotation pitcher. Pencil him into the rotation with Chase Anderson and Zach Davies and you can fill out the rest of the rotation with anybody and still feel good.
Milwaukee has seen its window of opportunity just start to crack open. There is no reason for Nelson to rush back. This isn’t the go for it year, anyway. Although, if Nelson comes back before the All-Star break, this team could be serious contenders.
The next month or two will be crucial for Nelson. We should know before the season starts when to expect him back in Milwaukee. Until then, stay in that hyperbaric chamber Jimmy!