As Brewers On Deck continues today, the coaches have also met with the media about the upcoming season. Pitching coach Derek Johnson was one of those, and he dropped an interesting piece of information when talking to fans.
Word on the convention floor is that Brewers pitching coach Derek Johnson told fans the team expects Jimmy Nelson back around June.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) January 28, 2018
If that is true, it would represent a recovery time of around nine months for Nelson from his shoulder injury. Considering that his injury was classified as a non-typical labrum injury, a quicker timetable is possible. That would be a big boost for the team if they could get him back that early. Expectations were that Nelson might not be ready to return until later in the season, so the ability to get extra starts out of him would be welcome for a contending Brewers team.
Of course, that might just be optimism talking at Brewers on Deck right now. In fact, Jimmy Nelson himself was quick to note that there’s still no timetable.
Jimmy Nelson says all good in his first week-plus of throwing. He’s still reluctant to put a timetable on his possible return to the rotation.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) January 28, 2018
Regardless of which side you look at, all signs appear to be positive for Nelson as he continues to rehab. A June return would be welcome for this team, but if it takes a little longer, that would be ok as well, if it ensures Nelson is completely healthy.
Meanwhile, even though the rotation could be trying out some pitchers to start out the season, one of those will not be Josh Hader. His role is still locked down in the bullpen for now (per Adam McCalvy). Though Hader was a starter in the minors, he has been so effective in the bullpen that it’s hard to move him from there right now. He might get a chance to start in the future, but his best spot on this team for the upcoming season is likely working with Corey Knebel to make an elite closing combo.