Juan Nicasio’s recovery from a broken neck has gone so well that he “will have no limitations this spring,” according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
Rockies manager Jim Tracy told Renck that Nicasio “has a very, very good chance to be a member of our rotation” and “is coming into camp with the mindset that he’s making the team.”
Colorado has plenty of young rotation options, so Nicasio will definitely have to pitch his way into a starting role, but the fact that he’s simply in the mix is pretty remarkable just seven months after a line drive to the head left him with a fractured C-1 vertebrae.
Prior to the scary injury Nicasio made 13 starts with a 4.14 ERA and 58/18 K/BB ratio in 72 innings as a 24-year-old rookie making the jump directly from Double-A, and his minor-league track record includes a 3.40 ERA and fantastic 467/104 K/BB ratio in 471 innings.
Free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo is headed back to the Brewers on a major league deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. No other terms have been reported yet, as the agreement is still pending a physical.
Gallardo, 31, completed a one-year run with the Mariners before getting his $13 million option declined by the team last month. He provided little value during his time in Seattle, pitching to a 5-10 record in 22 starts and putting up a 5.72 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.5 SO/9 in 130 2/3 innings as both a starter and reliever.
Still, assuming the veteran righty is on the cusp of a comeback, he may as well try for it with his original club. Gallardo last appeared for the Brewers from 2007 to 2014, racking up a cumulative 20.8 fWAR and peaking during the 2010 season, when he earned his first All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger award. This will be his ninth career season with the club.
Even with Gallardo aboard, the Brewers are expected to continue deepening their pitching stores for 2018. With team ace Jimmy Nelson still recovering from shoulder surgery, the club will enter the season with a projected rotation of Gallardo, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Junior Guerra, the latter of whom pitched just 70 1/3 innings in 2017 following a right calf strain and shin contusion. Another big name pitcher could help cement Milwaukee’s rotation and keep them competitive for another year, though they don’t appear to have made any concrete moves in that direction so far.