For the first time since September 2017, Jimmy Nelson will be pitching in a competitive game this weekend.
Craig Counsell told reporters in New York Friday night that Nelson has shown enough improvement that he is being moved out of extended spring training and will begin his minor league rehab assignment, putting him one step closer to a return to the major leagues.
Nelson will pitch for Triple-A San Antonio on Sunday, officially starting the clock on his rehab assignment. By rule, pitchers get up to 30 days for their rehab assignments before the team has to make a decision. Even if the Brewers continue to handle Nelson conservatively, that means he could be back with the Brewers by Memorial Day.
He’s not the only pitcher nearing a return to the Major League roster, though. Freddy Peralta will also pitch in a rehab assignment, scheduled to start today for Double-A Biloxi. Peralta’s return could come much sooner, as Counsell made it sound like it could be one-and-done for Peralta in the minors if he gets through that start without any further issues.
With the addition of Gio Gonzalez and Chase Anderson pitching well (albeit in short outings) while Peralta has been out, it’s fair to question where Peralta fits in on the major league roster once he returns, but Counsell was pretty clear that he’ll be on the big league roster once he’s healthy. From Tom Haudricourt’s report before Friday night’s game:
“We’re open to what happens but most likely it will just be one (rehab outing),” Counsell said. “We were debating whether he would go out for a start but decided to put him on the mound down there before getting him back in a major-league game.”
You’ll be able to see how Peralta and Nelson fare in their rehab outings this weekend in our daily minor league Prospect Report. Right now it looks like we aren’t far off from the Brewers being back to having some rotation depth — or at least having plenty of arms to choose from.