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Top prospect Nelson arrives ready for first 'pen stint

Top prospect Nelson arrives ready for first 'pen stint

Top prospect Nelson arrives ready for first 'pen stint play video for Top prospect Nelson arrives ready for first 'pen stint

MILWAUKEE -- Jimmy Nelson reported to a new clubhouse Tuesday and assumed a new role: relief pitcher.

The 24-year-old right-hander, MLB.com's top Brewers prospect, was called up to make his Major League debut. The Brewers would have added Nelson to the 40-man roster after the season, anyway, to protect him from December's Rule 5 Draft, so why not reward him for a solid Minor League season?

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"It's something I've worked for for a long time," Nelson said. "It still hasn't hit me."

He went 10-10 with a 3.25 ERA in 27 starts between Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville, plus a scoreless inning at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in New York. Nelson's 3.8 walks per nine innings were a career-best, and his 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings were his best since Rookie ball in 2010, when the Brewers made Nelson their second-round pick in the First-Year Player Draft.

The Brewers have their starting rotation mapped out through the end of the season, and Nelson is not ticketed for a start, said manager Ron Roenicke, who stressed that every plan is subject to change.

"We already have six [starters]," Roenicke said. "There's just too many guys. With [Tyler] Thornburg, because he's pitched so well, we feel we need to see him in a starting role, and it's already a mess going to six guys. It's just a matter of, you're wanting to see guys, but you also want to give the guys you're looking at the opportunity to pitch well."

Nelson's last Triple-A start was Friday, so Roenicke planned to avoid using him Tuesday. On Wednesday, Nelson would be available for his first regular-season relief appearance since May 17, 2011, at Class A Wisconsin.

"It's just an adjustment," Nelson said. "I threw out of the bullpen a few times [at the University of Alabama] and I did it in the Fall League this last fall, so I've gotten a little taste of it. It's just an adjustment, a change in the mentality from starting to bullpen."

Nelson has already logged a career-high 152 1/3 regular season innings, but said he wasn't tired.

"If you're tired when you get called up, then you're not tired," he joked. "It's a little energizing. I felt good this year."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Kevin Massoth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"event":["prospect" ] }
{"event":["prospect" ] }