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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.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.