Saints Welcome Back Familiar Face Southpaw Cole NelsonST. PAUL, MN August 8, 2013
ST. PAUL, MN (August 8, 2013) – The Saints pitching staff has turned the corner from where they were at the mid-point of the season thanks to a total overhaul that began a little over two weeks ago. First they signed a pair of free agents in Bryan Henry and Jon Plefka, before acquiring another solid bullpen piece via trade in Kyle Morrison. Now, the Saints have re-signed starter Cole Nelson, who had a very successful beginning to the season with the Saints before having his contract purchased by the Atlanta Braves organization on June 17.
Nelson, who was named the American Association Pitcher of the Week in mid-June and had a 2-2 record and 2.86 ERA with the Saints, was released by the Rome Braves on August 1. With Rome he pitched in nine games, all in relief, registering an 0-1 record and 6.91 ERA in 14.1 innings of work. Nelson struck out 15 and walked 11.
The Saints originally signed the 23-year old lefthander in late April. Last year Nelson spent the season at Single-A Fort Myers, of the Minnesota Twins organization, where he went 5-8 with a 6.26 ERA and two saves in 23 games (14 starts). In 82.0 innings he walked 49 and struck out 66 while opponents hit .328 against him.
Nelson graduated from Edina High School and went to Des Moines Area Community College where he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 45th round of the 2009 June Amateur Draft, but elected not to sign. He played at Auburn University in 2010 and was a 10th round pick by the Detroit Tigers in the 2010 June Amateur Draft. In nine games pitched between the Gulf Coast League and Single-A Lakeland, Nelson was 1-0 with a 0.66 ERA in 2010.
In 2011 Nelson began the season with Lakeland before being traded to the Twins, along with pitcher Lester Oliveras, in exchange for Delmon Young. Nelson went 6-12 with a 4.67 ERA between the two teams.
In order to make room for Nelson, the Saints placed RHP Dustin Klabunde on the disabled list retroactive to August 5.
The Saints currently have the league maximum 22 on the roster, 10 pitchers and 12 position players, with two on the disabled list and one on the inactive list.