Well before the Los Angeles Dodgers completed their blockbuster trade with the Boston Red Sox, notable offseason additions comprised of signing Jimmy Nelson and Alex Wood to respective one-year contracts.
Both pitchers were coming off a season marred by injury and each expected to receive an opportunity to round out the Dodgers’ starting rotation come Opening Day. However, the general belief was Nelson was more likely to fill a role out of the bullpen.
That may be all the more likely in the wake of the 30-year-old battling back and groin injuries through the first two weeks of camp. Nelson was kept off the mound for a few days before resuming with his bullpen sessions.
But one week after doing so, he has now been shut down due to suffering a setback after his latest bullpen, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
Jimmy Nelson came out of yesterday’s bullpen session with lower body discomfort and is shut down. He had been nursing groin and lower back issues.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) February 27, 2020
Nelson has pitched just 22 innings at the Major League level since suffering a right rotator cuff strain and partial anterior labrum tear when he dove into first base during a game in September of 2017. Nelson underwent surgery and missed all of the next season.
He didn’t debut last year until June, and only pitched in 10 games (three starts). Nelson went 0-2 with a 6.95 ERA and 1.91 WHIP, and was non-tendered by the Milwaukee Brewers.
If there’s a silver lining for L.A. and Nelson, it’s that his latest injury trouble is not related to the arm/shoulder issues from the past. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently spoke highly of Nelson and expressed a belief he was capable of pitching at his pre-injury level.
“He’s here for a reason,” Roberts added. “We viewed him as a starter, but health is a thing, so we’ve got to take it day to day and build him up.”
In addition to Nelson, the Dodgers are managing injuries to Dustin May, Joc Pederson and Chris Taylor. The club has made it clear they do not feel any sort of pressure to rush a player’s return in time for Opening Day — March 26 at Dodger Stadium.
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