Jimmy Nelson has earned a job with the World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers after missing last season due to a back injury.
The Dodgers selected the 31-year-old pitcher to the 40-man roster Thursday and he signed a contract that pays $1.25 million while in the major leagues and $150,000 while in the minors.
Nelson allowed an unearned run over seven innings in four spring training appearances, giving up four hits and holding batters to a .160 average. He struck out nine and walked one.
Nelson can earn $1.5 million in performance bonuses for innings: $250,000 each for 90 and each additional 15 through 165. He also can earn $1 million for games: $250,000 apiece for 40, 50, 60 and 65.
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Nelson signed with the Dodgers before last season but they said July 6 he needed lower back surgery and he didn't pitch all season. He had $277,778 in prorated pay from his $750,000 base salary. Nelson was among 11 major leaguers whose salaries were less than the $286,500 advance they received when the season’s start was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Los Angeles declined his $2 million option in November, triggering a $500,000 buyout and allowing him to become a free agent. The right-hander agreed to a minor league contract with the Dodgers the following month.
Nelson, who turns 32 on June 5, is 33-46 with a 4.22 ERA in 119 career games, all with Milwaukee. He had a career year with the Brewers in 2017, with a 3.49 ERA and 199 strikeouts in 29 starts, then missed all of 2018 after right shoulder surgery. He was limited to 22 innings in 2019 due to elbow problems.
Los Angeles opened a roster spot by transferring right-hander Tommy Kahnle to the 60-day injured list. Kahnle is recovering from Tommy John surgery on Aug. 5 and agreed in December to a $4.75 million, two-year deal with the Dodgers.
Infielder Sheldon Neuse was optioned to minor league camp.