Brewers ace Jimmy Nelson is “way ahead of schedule” in his rehab from shoulder surgery, reports MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. The initial plan for Nelson had been to begin a throwing program at the beginning of Spring Training, but Nelson tells McCalvy that he’ll now begin throwing next week. Nelson credits his accelerated timeline to regular use of a hyperbaric chamber, improved conditioning and diet as well as rigorous arm care and physical therapy.
The shortened timeline is music to the Brewers’ ears, though an exact timetable for Nelson remains uncertain following a September operation which, as McCalvy notes, repaired his shoulder in three separate places. Milwaukee already signed Jhoulys Chacin to a two-year deal, and they’ll return right-handers Chase Anderson and Zach Davies as well. That trio will be relied upon heavily while Nelson rehabs, with other candidates to take the ball every fifth day including Brent Suter, Josh Hader, Brandon Woodruff, Junior Guerra, Jorge Lopez ,Aaron Wilkerson and old friend Yovani Gallado (among others).
Elsewhere in the NL Central…
- Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is currently planning to retire after his current contract expires in 2020, he tells MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch. Molina says his body still feels up to the rigors of his typically large workload, adding that he has no plans to cut back on his playing time at the age of 35. There’s time, of course, for Molina’s mind to change on the matter of retirement. If he remains healthy and productive through the 2020 season and the Cardinals remain in contention, for instance, it’s not difficult to envision a change of heart. That said, Langosch notes that Molina sounded much more definitive on the matter this time around than he did a year ago when discussing his future after signing a three-year, $60MM extension that spans the 2018-20 seasons.
- Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts was dismissive of the notion that collusion has slowed the free-agent market in an interview with Patrick Mooney of The Athletic (subscription required & recommended). Ricketts pointed out that in previous years, some teams have somewhat quietly inked new television deals or had those deals kick in, which has led to unexpected spending. (Ricketts doesn’t mention instances by name, though that was very likely a component in the D-backs’ signing of Zack Greinke, for instance.) Asked about the possibility of further spending for his own team, Ricketts replied: “Theo has the resources to do whatever he needs to do to win on the field. … I don’t know what’s going to happen with the guys that are out there, whether it’s a good fit for us.” Mooney also chats with newly promoted AGM Scott Harris about the slow offseason.