The Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitching staff has perhaps more depth than ever as they have nine capable starters competing for just five spots.
One of those pitchers is Jimmy Nelson, who the Dodgers signed to a one-year, incentive-heavy contract this past offseason. The former Milwaukee Brewers right-hander had a breakout season in 2017, but has missed most of the last two years due to injury so will be looking to bounce back.
Unfortunately, Nelson’s first spring with the Dodgers has not gotten off to the best start as he has been dealing with minor back and groin injuries. He suffered a bit of a setback that forced him to be shut down for a few days before resuming throwing earlier this week.
It appears his condition is improving considering he was able to get back on the mound for a bullpen session on Sunday, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts concluded that it’s unlikely he makes the Opening Day roster, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
Jimmy Nelson threw a 17-pitch bullpen session, erratic command but felt healthy. Still extremely unlikely to make Opening Day roster.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) March 8, 2020
While Nelson has been a starter for most of his career, he could also be a bullpen option for the Dodgers and Roberts has already said that is likely where he will begin the season before gradually building up to be a starter.
Those plans could change if he begins the season on the injured list as opposed to the bullpen though. The Dodgers could opt to send Nelson out on a rehab assignment at the start of the year to allow him time to properly get built up as a starter.
Regardless though, it is certainly positive news that Nelson is now feeling healthy enough to get back on a mound. Even if it is not at the start of the season, he will likely make a big impact for L.A. in 2020 whether it be in the rotation or out of the bullpen, or more likely a mixture of both.
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