The Milwaukee Brewers have been waiting a long time to get Jimmy Nelson back in game action. On Monday, March 11, 2019, Nelson finally got into a game against another team. How did he do?
Having not pitched in a real game since September 2017, it’s fair to expect a little bit of rust from Milwaukee Brewers righty Jimmy Nelson.
Nelson only pitched one inning on Monday, and there is a lot to unravel about his outing against the White Sox.
The first batter Nelson faced was Adam Engel. Engel hit a home run off him. Not exactly the most promising start in his first inning back, but it’s not the end of the world. Nelson went on to give up two singles and a double and another run.
Nelson allowed two runs to score in his one inning of work. After missing the last 18 months, there’s a little bit of rust on Nelson’s arm, which isn’t surprising and shouldn’t be of too much concern.
For his three outs in the inning, Nelson had three strikeouts. His fastball reached 94 MPH and was sitting in the 91-92 MPH range. For his first game back after major shoulder surgery, that’s very encouraging velocity numbers. While at full strength, Nelson can add a few more ticks to that radar gun, this is still very positive.
Jimmy Nelson completes his first inning against another club since September 2017. Allowed a homer, double, two singles and two runs but also struck out the side. His breaking stuff was working better than fastball. So, big first step in return from shoulder surgery.
— Tom (@Haudricourt) March 11, 2019
The off-speed pitches for Nelson appeared to be working best for him. They kept opposing hitters off-balance and were obviously key to his strikeouts. After returning from the kind of injury he had, getting those breaking pitches back to where they need to be is difficult, so this is also very encouraging for Nelson.
The Most Important Thing
The most important thing about this outing is that Nelson made it through healthy. Sure he had a little rust but the results of the inning aren’t what’s most important. His velocity was back, his off-speed pitches were sharp, and he made it through without any sort of injury concern. That is key.
Allowing two runs in his first inning back after 18 months isn’t something that Craig Counsell is going to be concerned about.
Overall, this was a very positive outing for Nelson. This was the key next step in his rehab. He’s currently on track to make the rotation on Opening Day and be ready to go for the season. His next time out Nelson will probably go two or three innings as the Milwaukee Brewers look to stretch him out for the season.
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The Milwaukee Brewers need a strong comeback season from Jimmy Nelson this year. If he can re-establish himself as a frontline starter, the Brewers will have another veteran to depend on in the postseason.