DALLAS — The longer Rolando Fernandez talked about Juan Nicasio on Monday, the better it sounded. Four months since breaking the C-1 veterbrae in his neck, the right-hander will begin throwing to hitters in a controlled environment next month.
“It was amazing to watch him (in the Dominican Republic). You can’t tell that anything every happened,” said Fernandez, the Rockies’ director of Latin Operations. “I am so happy for him.”
It’s not just that Nicasio is throwing off a mound. His velocity has returned, for the most part. That’s saying something for a kid who regularly tickles 96 miles per hour on his fastball. Remember, Nicasio reached the big leagues last season, in part, because of his alarming efficiency. Thus far, he’s had no mechanical issues. Fernandez estimates that Nicasio threw 52 strikes in 55 pitches in three separate side sessions.
“You can ask (trainer Keith) Dugger. He was there,” Fernandez said with a smile.
Nicasio’s recovery, which is nothing short of a miracle to