Dodgers Team News

Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Backtracks and Defends Struggling Jimmy Nelson After Another Rocky Outing

Dodgers RHP Jimmy Nelson has struggled thus far in spring training. That’s probably putting it lightly.

In five appearances, Nelson has managed to get just seven batters out, and has allowed one hit, four earned runs and a shocking 11 walks. He’s also hit a batter.

His WHIP through 2.1 innings is 5.14, while his ERA is a sky-high 15.43. He’s struggled to find the strike zone, and in his most recent outing, it was as bad as ever.

On Sunday, Nelson threw 14 pitches, and just one of them was a strike. He threw 13 balls, walked three batters, hit another and threw two wild pitches. The command was just not there.

However, despite the slow start to spring, Dodgers manager isn’t giving up on the right-hander. After the game, he made that clear (per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register).

“We’ve all got to be mindful that this guy hasn’t pitched in almost two years,” Roberts said. “So there’s the structural part. He’s got a new arm. What was normal to him back then is not normal now. … It’s a process. So that was kind of my message to Jimmy. And every athlete wants to kind of be good right now. But just understanding that it’s coming, and it’s just gonna take some time.”

Nelson didn’t pitch at all in the 2022 season due to elbow surgery, so he is in a position of trying to work his way back and figure things out. That’s why, Roberts wouldn’t give a hard timetable on his return, making it increasingly more likely he starts the season on the injured list.

“To give a hard date on when he needs to be ready, I just think that’s unfair to him,” Roberts said. “The most important thing is to get him to feel comfortable and confident and convicted.”

Nelson has proven he’s far from ready to pitch in the major leagues, and since the Dodgers signed him to a major league deal, their options are either put him on the roster, cut him or stash him on the IL.

So, since he’s not ready to pitch, expect Nelson to start the season on the IL — likely the 60-day — as the Dodgers give him ample time to work on his new approach before a potential return.

There’s no guarantee we see him pitch this year, but if he continues to improve, he may get an opportunity later in the season.

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Noah Camras

Noah is an Editor for Dodgers Nation. He graduated from USC in 2022 with a B.A. in Journalism and minor in Sports Media Studies. He's been a Dodger fan his whole life, and his all-time favorite Dodgers are Matt Kemp and Russell Martin.

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