Dodgers News: Pitcher Jimmy Nelson out for the season with back injury

Jimmy Nelson, Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Jimmy Nelson, Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Dodgers will be without pitcher Jimmy Nelson this season.

The Los Angeles Dodgers signed right-hander Jimmy Nelson in the offseason to an incentive-based contract to offset injury risk, and before the first pitch of the 2020 season has been thrown, he is already out for the season with a back injury.

The 30-year-old is set to undergo lower back surgery on Tuesday. The team announced the news just as the 2020 schedule was released by Major League Baseball.

Jimmy Nelson loses the opportunity to earn performance bonuses.

In a quirk of how salaries will be paid this season, Nelson is one of eleven players who will not receive another regular paycheck this year after the amount advanced to him from an agreement between MLB and the player’s union back in March already exceeds his pro-rated salary over 60-games.

However, Nelson was hoping to earn an additional $1 million incentive if he made the Opening Day roster. He also had performance bonuses associated with staying on the roster at least 45 and 90 days. In total, he could have earned an additional $1.5 million over his $750,000 base pay.

In the end, Nelson will earn $277,777 for his time working in quarantine for the Dodgers. His contract also carries a $2 million option for 2021 that can be bought out for $500,000.

The right-hander was limited to only three starts last season for Milwaukee after missing the entire 2018 season due to various shoulder injuries. In signing the veteran starter, Andrew Friedman was hoping for a bounce-back season.

Over the past few days, the Dodgers have now lost Nelson and starter David Price, who opted out due to health concerns associated with Covid-19. However, the team has plenty of pitching depth, as manager Dave Roberts will deploy a five-man rotation that includes Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, Alex Wood, and one of Ross Stripling, Dustin May, or Tony Gonsolin.

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Nelson was projected to be a long-reliever who could have seen his role expand based on his performance and the health of other pitchers. Obviously, it is his own health that cost him the opportunity for a rebound season.