Nelson makes Brewers' NLDS roster
Left-handed-hitting callup will provide depth off bench
PHILADELPHIA -- The Brewers settled on a 25-man roster for the National League Division Series on Tuesday, and the 25th man was as surprised as anybody.First baseman/outfielder Brad Nelson, a September callup, made the final cut and will provide Brewers manager Dale Sveum an extra left-handed bat off the bench for the best-of-five series against the Phillies. Game 1 is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. CT on Wednesday.
"Awesome," Nelson said after getting the news. "I've been feeling good ever since getting called up. I feel confident in everything right now."As expected, injured right-handers Ben Sheets (elbow) and David Riske (elbow) and outfielder Gabe Kapler (right shoulder) were not on the roster. Aside from Nelson, there were no substantial surprises. Tony Gwynn Jr., Mitch Stetter and Nelson were not on Milwaukee's 25-man roster on Aug. 31, but they were eligible for the postseason because they were in the organization as of that date and they replaced injured players. Nelson won his spot over third baseman/first baseman Russell Branyan, who also bats left-handed but was on the disabled list for most of September with a strained right oblique, and utility man Joe Dillon, a right-handed hitter. "We were a little concerned with Branyan's health, though he looked fine today in [batting practice]," Sveum said after the Brewers worked out at Citizens Bank Park. "Nelly is a combination; he's played the most outfield of anybody else right now of those guys. He's given us some really good at-bats. Knock on wood, I don't think he's had a poor at-bat since he's been here." Once considered Milwaukee's top prospect before a Draft pick named Fielder blocked Nelson's path at first base, Nelson hit .286 this season at Triple-A Nashville with 18 home runs and earned a September promotion. In the big leagues, he went 2-for-7 with two doubles and a walk.
Brewers' NLDS roster
|Tony Gwynn Jr.||Outfielder||L||R|
Nelson boarded the team's charter flight on Monday in Milwaukee not knowing whether he would remain with the team in Philadelphia or head home to Iowa to help his dad with the fall harvest at the family farm."Everybody's hopeful, [because] when you get on that plane, there's a chance," Nelson said. Sveum and the Brewers opted to keep three left-handed arms in the bullpen -- Manny Parra, Brian Shouse and Stetter -- to have answers for Philadelphia's stable of left-handed bats, most notably Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.
All but two players who were with Milwaukee on the final day of the regular season will remain with the team throughout the NLDS, though only six inactive players can be in uniform. Sveum chose Branyan, Dillon, Kapler, Riske, Vinny Rottino and Sheets for that distinction.Infielder Mike Lamb and catcher Angel Salome left the team Tuesday. Lamb, who was not eligible for postseason play because the Brewers acquired him after Sept. 1, went home to Southern California because his wife is expecting a child. Salome traveled to the team's training center in Phoenix and will participate in the Arizona Fall League. The Brewers' other post-Sept. 1 pickup, reliever Todd Coffey, will stay with the team. Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, who has not been GM of a postseason team since the Rangers won the American League West in 1999, and Gord Ash, who was the Blue Jays' assistant GM when they won the AL East in 1993, had to brush up on their postseason roster rules. An injured player can be replaced mid-series, but it must be a pitcher-for-pitcher or player-for-player move, and it must be approved by the Commissioner's Office, Ash said. Brewers doctors would confer with MLB medical officials to ensure a player is legitimately injured. With the NLDS roster set, the Brewers' focus was on advancing. "We're not satisfied with just getting there," Melvin said. "As tough as it was to get here, we're not satisfied."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.