Saturday, March 21, 2009

Newman: Nesseth's return to bullpen a no-brainer

With the emergence of Casey Hauptman and Jordan Roualdes as starting pitchers and Nebraska’s early season bullpen struggles and an elbow injury to projected closer Erik Anderson, the decision to move ace starting pitcher Mike Nesseth back to the bullpen was a no-brainer, Huskers' coach Eric Newman said.

“When we evaluated it, Mike was obviously our best starting pitcher, but from a team standpoint, we really needed somebody at the end of the game that could get it done,” Newman said. “Mike had shown last year that he was that guy and able to do that. So when we realized that (finishing games) had become a little bit of a problem, it became a pretty easy decision.”

Newman said he expects Nesseth to serve as the closer for the Huskers for the remainder of the season, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

“He doesn’t look at this as a demotion, and I certainly don’t, either,” Newman said of Nesseth. “I look at it this way: We were putting the best closer in the conference back into his natural role.”

It was a role Nesseth was clearly comfortable in last year as a freshman. The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder from Windom, Minn., made 27 relief appearances in 2008, recording four saves and striking out 53 batters in 37 2/3 innings, while opponents batted just .201 against him.

Nesseth certainly doesn't seem to mind.

“I’d love to stay in the bullpen,” Nesseth said. “Obviously, I’m going to pitch whenever they tell me to pitch, but I think if it works out best for the team with me as the closer, I’d like to stay there.”

Posted by Terry Douglass @ Saturday, March 21, 2009 || 0 comments

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