The Brewers did not see enough to warrant a contract offer to the arbitration-eligible Nelson. The Dodgers – looking for “upside plays,” as Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman put it – bought the lottery ticket for a modest $1.25 million salary in 2020 plus bonuses and an option for 2021 that could make the contract worth as much as $13 million over two years.“In 2017, in our opinion, he was one of the better starters in the National League. Then obviously the injuries set in,” Friedman said. “He came back at the tail end of ’19 and his stuff looked a little bit different which you would expect after that amount of layoff.“Right now, it’s just about getting him out there, making sure he’s healthy, building him up. We’ll kind of see where we are at the end and whether it’s a top-starter-in-the-National-League potential or a Brandon Morrow-type bullpen ace. I don’t know. A lot will be determined over the next month.”The Morrow comparison is a good one. He was also a formerly exceptional starter waylaid by injuries when he signed a minor-league deal with the Dodgers in 2017. After opening the season in Triple-A, Morrow joined the Dodgers in late May and became a key piece of their bullpen the rest of the way.Nelson says his priority is on getting and staying healthy – a sore groin muscle limited him early in camp. But he insists his pitch mix is “all the way back.”“I’ve shown last year, with all the data we have nowadays and with the spin rates and perceived velos and your movement profiles and all that, from cleaning up some of my arm action from the shoulder, I actually think and there’s proof that I actually increased some of my spin and some of my movement profiles on certain things,” Nelson said. “So my stuff is a little bit different now but I think it can be different for the better. I think that this organization saw that as well – even though it was a smaller sample size last year.”Nelson said he specifically signed with the Dodgers because of their support system both to maintain his health but also to make the most of his current abilities. If that means a bullpen role – so be it.Related Articles “I had full tears of the labrum, the (rotator) cuff, the capsule. There was some bone and nerve stuff going on. … It was very, very extensive.”Nelson actually went back out to the mound for the bottom of the fifth. With his shoulder essentially shredded, he hit a batter, walked a batter and threw a wild pitch. But he put up another zero. He wouldn’t throw another pitch in a major-league game for 21 months.“It was tough,” Nelson said of the road back, delayed by elbow problems. “It was kind of one of those things where there wasn’t much literature on it. There wasn’t really a path that was paved for the rehab process of what I did.“A lot of dark days. But (I had) a lot of resources, a lot of good people surrounding me as far as from the organization, from your fellow teammates and obviously my family, my wife and just close friends and family. I could lean on them.”When Nelson finally returned to the Brewers’ rotation last June, he was not very good. In three starts he gave up 14 runs in 12 innings then went back on the Injured List with a sore elbow. A rehab assignment and September spent in the bullpen wrapped up his comeback season. Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start “The last two years I was watching the playoffs from the bench. That was tough. That was really tough for me,” he said.“I don’t care what my role is. I’ve said before I’ve been watching from the bench too much for the last two years. A lot of it was out of my control and dealing with injuries and rehab and all that stuff. But it is very tough. So at this point in my career, I know where I’m at and I want to just be a part of it, you know, I just want to be on the mound competing in whatever capacity.”ALSOOutfielder Joc Pederson is still limited in workouts by a sore right hip. He has not been cleared to swing a bat for four days now. “He’s on a slow program because you just can’t turn seven to 10 days into four weeks,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “We can always kind of make up the at-bats as we go forward.” … Pitcher Clayton Kershaw will make his spring debut Friday in Maryvale against the Milwaukee Brewers and pitcher Walker Buehler will go on Saturday. How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error GLENDALE, Ariz. — In early September 2017, Jimmy Nelson was one of the better young starting pitchers in the National League, a sturdy 28-year-old about to be 12-6 with a 3.49 ERA in 29 starts for the Milwaukee Brewers.And then, he wasn’t.Nelson was spinning a shutout four innings into a Sept. 8 start at Wrigley Field. With one out in the top of the fifth, Nelson lined a base hit into left field, rounded first base hard then thought better of it and scrambled back to first base, diving with his right arm reaching for the bag.“When I went into the bag, I knew I had dislocated my shoulder,” Nelson said. “I dislocated it out and it popped back in. But it was essentially like three or four separate full injuries.