Milwaukee Brewers: Jimmy Nelson no longer rehabbing?

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 08: Jimmy Nelson
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 08: Jimmy Nelson /

Milwaukee Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson has completed his rehab and is now traveling with the team. What does this mean for 2019?

Jimmy Nelson never returned to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2018, and he still won’t. Nelson is currently in a ‘rest period’ after completing rehab in Arizona and getting a clean bill of health. While Nelson won’t impact the current playoff run on the field, but he may influence the off season plans.

Why was Nelson out?

You don’t remember? He was hurt diving back to first base on a pickoff play in September of 2017. He was diagnosed with a right rotator cuff strain, and a partially torn right labrum. At first it was believed only the rotator cuff would require surgery, but both injuries needed the knife. His original timetable had him slated for a return around July or August, but setbacks caused delays, and he never appeared in 2018.

Nelson did throw several bullpen sessions near the end of the 2018 season. He was scheduled to throw an instructional league game, but it was rained out.

What does this mean for his off season program?

It’s business as usual for Nelson. He can work out, rebuild his strength, and work his way into ‘Spring Training shape’ like any other starting pitcher. He’s essentially free of any restrictions, and should be a full participant as soon as Spring Training starts in February.

The Milwaukee Brewers will enter Spring Training with a ton of options for their rotation. Jhoulys Chacin is under contract for 2019. Zach Davies and Chase Anderson are also slated to return next year. The Brewers also have Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, and Freddy Peralta vying for rotation spots as well. Nelson isn’t assured of a rotation spot at this point. He’ll have to earn his way back.

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The arrow on Nelson’s career was pointed up before he went down with injuries to his shoulder. A healthy Nelson would have provided Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell with a luxury that he doesn’t currently have, a true top starter. If Nelson return as the pitcher he was, the Brewers chances at another playoff run will increase in 2019. Especially since they appear poised for a deep run this year.