8/27/2014 8:02 P.M. ET
Garza to throw simulated game, bypass rehab
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- Bypassing a Minor League rehab assignment, Brewers right-hander Matt Garza is scheduled to pitch a simulated game on Friday in San Francisco before rejoining the big league starting rotation sometime next week.
"I won't say an exact date that we're thinking," manager Ron Roenicke said in announcing the plan, "but if [Friday] goes well, we should be able to get him back out there."
Garza, who has not pitched since he strained a left rib-cage muscle in St. Louis on Aug. 3, will throw 45-50 pitches in Friday's session. The plan for his comeback is being influenced by the Brewers' schedule, according to Roenicke. That the team is in the middle of a west-coast road trip complicated the idea of sending Garza to an affiliate, and the fact rosters expand when the calendar flips to September on Monday simplified the task of getting Garza back into game shape.
"It helps us because we're not worried about him having to pitch a game and go 5-6 innings for us," Roenicke said. "If he goes 3-4 [innings], we're fine because of what extra arms we'll have up."
Garza threw an aggressive bullpen session Tuesday and reported no significant soreness to pitching coach Rick Kranitz on Wednesday.
Assuming no setbacks, Garza could rejoin the rotation as early as next Tuesday or Wednesday in Chicago, though Roenicke was reluctant to announce any pitching plans for that series because Garza's return will impact another current starter.
Garza's return would bolster the staff if he regains the form he showed before getting hurt. He surrendered only two earned runs in 21 innings over his three most recent starts.
"Anytime you have guys on the DL, you want to get back to full strength," Roenicke said, adding, "I know the guys who have filled in have really done a great job for us. [Mike] Fiers kind of taking [Garza's] spot and Jimmy Nelson, who came in. … Those guys have done a great job for stepping in and pitching in really some big spots."
Nelson named PCL pitcher of the year
SAN DIEGO -- In an acknowledgement of his early-season dominance for Triple-A Nashville, Jimmy Nelson was named Pacific Coast League pitcher of the year Wednesday despite the fact he's been in the big leagues since before the All-Star break.
Nelson, 25, was the second Brewers farmhand in as many seasons to win the award, after Johnny Hellweg won last year.
"It's an honor," Nelson said. "It's pretty cool that the Brewers have gotten it the last couple years. It shows that we have some guys developing in our system.
"We had a few guys on that team that did well -- me, [Mike] Fiers did well and [Brad] Mills was dealing, too. It was a good staff and we all kind of pushed each other a little bit. Kind of like we do here."
In 17 outings for Nashville, Nelson was 10-2 with a 1.46 ERA. He struck out 114 batters with only 32 walks in 111 innings.
At the time of his July 11 promotion to the Brewers, Nelson led all of Minor League Baseball in ERA and opponents' batting average (.179), ranked third in strikeouts, and was tied for the PCL lead in victories.
Nelson was a near unanimous choice for the pitcher of the year honor in voting by field managers and representatives from the media in each city across the league. The only other player to receive a vote for the award was Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks.