CHICAGO – The Milwaukee Brewers are casting doubt on Jimmy Nelson’s chances of returning this season.
Nelson had shoulder surgery last September after he got hurt diving back to first after rounding the base on a single. It was a tough conclusion to a breakout year for the right-hander, who went 12-6 with a 3.49 ERA in 29 starts.
The 29-year-old Nelson has been working out, but he is running out of time.
“Jimmy pitching for us this year is unlikely,” manager Craig Counsell said before Wednesday’s 8-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs. “And that’s not due to a setback of any nature. That’s just due to the pace of his rehab right now. So we’re not ruling it 100 percent out, probably best goal is to just get him into a competitive situation before he shuts it down for the offseason. But I think at this point, pitching for us, the timetable to get there just doesn’t seem likely.”
Even with Nelson out and a couple more pitching injuries, Milwaukee is in the thick of the playoff hunt in the National League. It is in position for a wild card and just three back of Chicago for the NL Central lead.
Vying for their first postseason appearance since 2011, the Brewers added another pitching possibility when they acquired Jake Thompson from Philadelphia for cash considerations on Tuesday. Zach Davies also could rejoin the team down the stretch after being sidelined by an inflamed right rotator cuff and tight lower back.
Thompson was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs. The 24-year-old right-hander is 7-8 with a 4.87 ERA in 18 starts and 30 major league appearances – all with the Phillies.
“We look at him as another quality arm that adds to our depth,” general manager David Stearns said. “Similar to Jordan Lyles, he has experience starting and relieving. We’re going to look at him primarily as a reliever at this point. He’s another arm with options that we think can really just give us another guy to add to this rotation.”
The Brewers claimed Lyles off waivers from San Diego on Aug. 5. He was hit hard in his first appearance with his new club, yielding three runs and three hits in 2 1/3 innings in a 10-1 loss at Atlanta on Friday.
Davies made a rehab appearance with Double-A Biloxi on Saturday, surrendering four runs and five hits in five innings against Tennessee. He is scheduled to start for Triple-A Colorado Springs on Thursday.
“We’ll kind of take it from there,” Stearns said. “Part of this is how Zach is feeling. And he is beginning to feel better and I think getting more comfortable with where his body is at this point. Part of this is how our current group is performing and part of it is where we think Zach is at a performance level. All those are going to be taken into account. We are getting closer to September, so that could factor in.”
The 25-year-old Davies is 2-5 with a 5.23 ERA in eight starts after winning 17 games last season. Stearns said they could have Davies make another rehab appearance after Saturday’s outing.
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