Nelson rejoins Brewers with arm in sling

Right-hander out until next season after shoulder surgery

Nelson rejoins Brewers with arm in sling

MILWAUKEE -- Jimmy Nelson completed the transition from Brewers No. 1 starter to No. 1 Brewers fan on Thursday, when he returned from shoulder surgery in the middle of the team's epic series opener against the Cubs.

With his right arm in a sling on Friday afternoon, Nelson said it could be several weeks before he has a better idea of a timetable for his rehabilitation, which general manager David Stearns said would keep Nelson sidelined for "a chunk" of next season.

"I'm not worried about the rehab at all. I know I'll dominate the rehab," Nelson said. "These next few weeks, it's a lot of rest and recovery stuff, in the sling a lot. That's going to be the hard part for me, being a naturally anxious person. I've just got to focus on that right now.

"In my mind, the recovery is another form of rehab. I'm going to be doing everything I can, from my diet to my sleep -- everything in my power to help it recover and get back to where I was or better."

Nelson was 12-6 with a 3.49 ERA and 199 strikeouts in 29 starts before injuring his shoulder diving back to first base on Sept. 8 at Wrigley Field.

He expects to spend the next few weeks in a sling before a follow-up consultation with Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the surgeon who performed the arthroscopic procedure in Los Angeles. At that time, he hopes to get a better understanding of how much of the 2018 season he will miss, and whether he will rehab at home in Houston or in Phoenix at Maryvale Baseball Park.

"I didn't really think about best-case or worst-case [entering the surgery]," Nelson said. "I just wanted to take care of everything we needed to take care of up front, and if that means a couple extra months of rehab and recovery or whatever it may be, just to ensure that it's not an issue down the road, I definitely like that option. I'm looking at the big picture here.

"I've talked to several people, and they'll tell you that you can't win a division in April. It's a long season, so when I come back I want to make sure I'm healthy and nothing else happens."

Minor Leaguer Mendez update

Stearns on Thursday released a brief update about the condition of Minor Leaguer Julio Mendez, who sustained a cardiac event when he was hit in the chest by a pitch during a Rookie League game on Aug. 26.

"At the request of his family, Julio has been transferred to a hospital in his home country of Venezuela, where he remains in critical but stable condition," Stearns said in the statement. "We continue to send our thoughts and prayers to Julio and his family in this very difficult time."

The family asked the Brewers not to make any further details about Mendez's condition public.

Mendez, who turns 21 next month, has been in the Brewers' system since 2014. He played this season at Rookie-level Arizona and Helena.

Pina banged up

Brewers catcher Manny Pina sprained his left thumb when he tagged out the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo at the plate in the 10th inning of Thursday's loss. Pina did not take batting practice on Friday, when Stephen Vogt started behind the plate.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.