Changeup the big challenge for Nelson

Brewers' righty plans to focus on pitch in Spring Training

Changeup the big challenge for Nelson

MESA, Ariz. -- He threw only one of them in his two innings of Saturday's 8-8 tie with the A's, but Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson plans to feature his changeup more prominently as Spring Training moves along.

Nelson has always thrown a change. But after using 10-15 per game at the higher levels of the Minor Leagues, he's used it only 1.5 percent of the time in parts of three Major League seasons, including 1.2 percent of the time last season, when Nelson led the Brewers in starts (30), quality starts (13), wins (11), innings (177 1/3) and strikeouts (148).

Brewers Spring Training info

"I got up here and kind of got away from it," Nelson said. "Last offseason, I was working on the curveball so much that [the changeup] went on the back burner. This offseason, since I do have a good feel for the curveball and the slider, I got to work on [the changeup] more."

The goal for his changeup, Nelson said, was "using that more as a weapon instead of just something to show. Then I'll have a full arsenal."

Nelson pitched two scoreless innings against the A's without allowing a hit. He did walk a batter.

"I think it's first things first for him," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "The fastball is first for him, and then we move on to the next step with him. It's certainly something that's in the plan for Spring Training, but today was just get strikes, get the two-seam [fastball] working. He did a nice job."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.