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Jimmy Nelson lands on Injured List with elbow issue, Corbin Burnes recalled

Nelson’s comeback hits another bump in the road with fluid in his elbow

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MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Coming back from reconstructive shoulder surgery was never going to be easy, and Jimmy Nelson looked every bit as rusty as you would expect after missing 21 months of competitive pitching.

It’s the kind of thing that can only really be resolved with reps, but it looks like it will be that much harder for Nelson to get that work in for the time being, as he’s being put on the Injured List with an elbow issue after his latest appearance that included 4 walks in 2 innings.

Effusion basically means a buildup of fluid, and as Tom Haudricourt noted, that usually means inflammation in the elbow. It’s not uncommon for pitchers with other injuries to start to feel pain or discomfort in their elbow as they try to compensate for pain or discomfort elsewhere.

In his article for JSOnline, Haudricourt speculates that Nelson’s surgically repaired shoulder may have indirectly had a role in the elbow inflammation — basically, Nelson’s mechanics were so out of whack that he couldn’t locate his fastball, so he had to turn to using his breaking pitches more, which may have put extra strain on his elbow.

Nelson has issued 14 walks in 14 innings since making his return to the Major Leagues, and likely needed more time to get his mechanics back in order. But the reading-between-the-lines reports were that Nelson may have used his right to refuse minor league assignment when the Brewers decided to pull him from the starting rotation, necessitating a move to the bullpen.

Now it looks like he may eventually end up back in the minors anyway as part of another rehab assignment once the fluid is drained from his elbow and he’s ready to pitch again. Despite the convenient nature, there’s no reason to believe this was a fibbed injury just to get him off the active roster.

The cause of the inflammation/fluid is all speculation at this point, but we may find out more shortly once reporters are granted their daily pre-game meeting with Craig Counsell.

In the meantime, Corbin Burnes returns to the Brewers’ bullpen after making one appearance for Triple-A San Antonio, a start in which he threw 2 perfect innings. If you’re the type that would have preferred Burch Smith instead, that was likely nixed by Smith throwing 6 innings in a start yesterday.


Nelson says this is a continuation of the elbow problem he had at the end of spring training — something that never really went away, but that he wanted to pitch through. Craig Counsell more or less said they’re trying to protect Nelson from himself as he continues to work his way back.