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Jimmy Nelson to miss remainder of 2017 season with shoulder injury

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Brewers’ right-hander Jimmy Nelson is done for the season, the team announced Saturday. Nelson pitched through five innings during Friday’s 2-0 shutout over the Cubs, expending 79 pitches and fanning seven batters before exiting with right arm soreness prior to the sixth. He was diagnosed with a right rotator cuff strain and a partial anterior labrum tear on Saturday and will not return to the mound in 2017, though the specifics of his treatment and a timetable for his return have yet to be determined.

Per reports from MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, the injury was sustained on Nelson’s single off of John Lackey in the top of the fifth inning. Nelson sped past first base on the hit, then made a headfirst dive back to the bag. “It wasn’t extremely painful, it was just a weird feeling, a loose feeling,” Nelson told reporters following the game. He was able to return to the mound for another inning, but was lifted for precautionary reasons soon afterward.

Nelson, 28, is in his fifth campaign with the club. He carried a 12-6 record through 29 starts and turned in a career-best 3.49 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 10.2 SO/9 through 175 1/3 innings. This appears to be the first significant shoulder injury he’s sustained since his Double-A run in 2012, when he missed 26 days with a rotator cuff strain.

In his absence, the Brewers will try to stay afloat in the NL Central with minor league reinforcements, though a four-man rotation is also a possibility. McCalvy speculates that right-handers Taylor Jungmann and Aaron Wilkerson could be recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs and Double-A Biloxi, respectively. Jungmann went 8-2 in 16 starts with a 2.59 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 for Colorado Springs, while Wilkerson dominated the Southern League with a 3.16 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 9.0 SO/9 through 142 1/3 innings.

Miguel Sano gained weight this offseason

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Not all players coming in to spring training are in The Best Shapes of Their Lives. Some have put on a few pounds, such as Miguel Sano, notes Twins GM Thad Levine:

Sano has been given medical clearance to engage in all baseball workouts with his teammates, his surgically reinforced left shin now completely healed, though the Twins intend to lighten his schedule to prevent any new injuries.

They’d like to lighten something else, too: His “generous carriage,” as General Manager Thad Levine delicately put it last week. Sano’s conditioning understandably lags, after a winter largely spent incapacitated by the surgery.

Sano’s conditioning has often been a topic of conversation among the members of the Minnesota press corps, though not always in good faith. For example, last year when Sano injured his shin by fouling a ball off of it, one member of the The Fourth Estate found a way to make a column out of blaming the freak injury on Sano’s conditioning. At least in this instance his colleague is correctly noting that the poor conditioning is a result of the injury and not the cause.

Still, it’s just another issue facing Sano this spring. He’s out of shape, coming off of an injury, and — not that he’s due any sympathy for it — he’s facing a likely suspension arising out of the allegations of sexual assault leveled against him late last year.

So this spring we’ll be seeing more of Sano, it seems. At least until that time we’ll be seeing less of him.