As the Los Angeles Dodgers were undergoing roster turnover following the 2019 season, they took a chance on Jimmy Nelson and hoped he would help fortify their pitching depth and bring versatility to the staff.
Nelson had been non-tendered by the Milwaukee Brewers after being limited to just 10 games (three starts) because of a shoulder injury from the 2018 campaign, and subsequent elbow trouble that surfaced upon getting activated.
Nelson was limited in his first Spring Training with the Dodgers and didn’t appear in a Cactus League game. He was then shut down at the end of February 2020 after suffering a setback following a bullpen session.
Nelson began to make some progress but was left off the Opening Day roster. That June the Dodgers announced he was undergoing season-ending back surgery.
The Dodgers declined their team option on the 32-year-old, but he re-signed with L.A. shortly after. Nelson made the 2021 Dodgers Opening Day roster, but again struggled to remain healthy.
Nevertheless, Nelson is poised to re-sign with the Dodgers once again, according to Jack Harris of the L.A. Times:
Jimmy Nelson is back in camp, the right-handed pitcher in the process of finalizing a one-year deal expected to include a club option for 2023, according to multiple people familiar with the situation.
The reported contract structure is identical to the deal the Dodgers signed Tommy Kahnle to in December 2020 as he remained on the mend from Tommy John surgery. Nelson underwent Tommy John and a flexor tendon repair last August.
That is likely to keep him out most of, if not the entire 2022 season.
Nelson formed bond with Price
As he looked to find a rhythm out of the bullpen, Nelson formed a strong friendship with David Price, who was making a similar transition from being a starting pitcher.
“It definitely helps to be able to go through it with somebody else that’s kind of experiencing and kind of going through the same stuff that I am,” Price said last year. “Me and Jimmy are pretty different in a lot of ways, and I think that’s kind of why we gel so well. He’s like my therapy animal.
“Like my therapy pet. Like the therapy dogs that you see at the hospital. They make everybody feel good, and Jimmy is a guy that makes me laugh. The stuff that he says, he needs to be mic’d up for ‘[Backstage] Dodgers.’ He has got so many one-liners.
“Every team needs a guy like Jimmy, just to lighten the mood. He’s been a lot of fun to be around and a pleasure to hang out with. I look forward to laughing at Jimmy whenever I go back in the clubhouse.”
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