MILWAUKEE -- Jimmy Nelson's uncertain timetable means an opportunity for someone else as the Brewers use Spring Training to sort out the back end of the starting rotation.
On the eve of pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale Baseball Park, three spots were set with Chase Anderson, Zach Davies and free-agent acquisition Jhoulys Chacin. Nelson, Milwaukee's best starting pitcher last season when the team's rotation ranked 10th in the Major Leagues with a 4.10 ERA, will start the season on the disabled list and will miss a still-unknown portion of the first half as he recovers from shoulder surgery.
In his stead comes a group of in-house competitors -- including Brandon Woodruff, Brent Suter, Yovani Gallardo, Junior Guerra and Aaron Wilkerson -- who technically begin Spring Training on equal footing.
It seems like every season a 'mystery' pitcher appears and holds down a portion of the rotation. We had two last year with Anderson and Davies both taking big steps forward. Year before some guy named Guerra. And let's not forget Fiers and Estrada before that. So who is the unknown or forgotten hurler that steps up this year?
Guerra figured out how to regain his speed this winter. If he is back to full velocity why can't he reclaim opening day worthiness this Spring? Gallardo lost his velocity and effectiveness which a return would make him a solid mid rotation starter. Suter never was fast which hasn't hurt him of the 3.45 ERA in 14 starts last year. With a year experience under his cap can he become even more effective? And the kids are kids and there are a lot of them. We already have a chance to make the mid season move by hopefully getting a healthy Jimmy Nelson.
I don't think Stearns is done. If he doesn't get the player he wants this staff doesn't lack for upside as is.
If they're as competitive as last year, I'll be happy.
Going on vacation to Utah this week and will proudly be wearing my old school Brewers cap (curved bill, however)
You prolly need one of these for the collection.
Danny Salazar is "a couple weeks behind" the rest of the Indians' pitchers, per the team. He dealt with right shoulder inflammation in January during his offseason throwing program.— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) February 15, 2018
Wade Miley is a refreshingly direct fellow. Asked what went wrong last year in Baltimore, he said, "I walked a s&!t ton of people."— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) February 16, 2018
He called it "absurd" and did some mechanical work over the winter to fix it.
Craig Counsell said Junior Guerra's off year in 2017 came after team asked him to rest during winter ball. Of course, injured calf in first game, too. But Guerra returned to winter ball this year and pitched great in Venezuela. Guerra upbeat about that.— Tom (@Haudricourt) February 18, 2018