Former No. 1 pick Rogers strong in debut

Former No. 1 pick Rogers strong in debut

MILWAUKEE -- Right-hander Mark Rogers didn't have to go far when the Brewers added him to the active roster on Friday.

Rogers was already in Milwaukee for his year-end motion analysis, part of the club's new focus on biomechanics as a method to improve performance and prevent injury. Since he was already in town and already on the 40-man roster, club officials decided to formally recall Rogers from Double-A Huntsville for the final three-plus weeks of the Major League season.

He sat in the stands at Miller Park for games against the Cardinals on Tuesday and Wednesday, and he went to work on Friday night. Rogers pitched a perfect ninth inning in the Brewers' 4-0 loss and made Cubs first baseman Micah Hoffpauir his first strikeout victim.

"It's been a long road," Rogers said. "The Brewers have been behind me the whole way, and to reach this point and get an opportunity, it's extremely exciting for me. Obviously, I would have liked to be here before this point, but I feel like I've been blessed to get a second opportunity to get to the point where I'm at right now."

Rogers was the fifth overall pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft and might have joined Milwaukee's second-round pick that year, Yovani Gallardo, in the Majors several years ago had he not been dogged by a series of arm injuries.

Rogers required major shoulder surgery in January 2007 that cost him all of '07 and '08, but he stayed healthy throughout '09 and '10, as he went 6-8 with a 3.65 ERA in 24 starts for Huntsville and one spot start for Triple-A Nashville. Rogers said he touched 101 mph with a fastball in his last start for Huntsville.

Rogers struck out 111 batters in 111 2/3 innings, but he also issued 69 walks. Manager Ken Macha would like to see Rogers cut down on the free passes, but he congratulated the young right-hander for overcoming injuries to make it to the Majors.

"It's similar to [Chris] Capuano, the stuff he's been through," Macha said. "You really appreciate those guys who come back and make it there."

Rogers made his Major League debut out of the Brewers' bullpen, but he could see a start before the end of the season. Macha would prefer to avoid starting a rookie in a game with postseason implications, so he is eyeing the Brewers' late-September series against the Marlins. That happens to fall amid a stretch of 17 straight games without an off-day, so Macha could use Rogers to give his other five starters an extra day of rest.

"I'd like to try to make this team out of camp next year," Rogers said. "That's my ultimate goal, and this is another tool to prepare myself for Spring Training next year. I'm up here to learn, and I'm extremely excited about it. It's another step in the right direction.

"I've been healthy all year, and that was the main goal, to make my starts every fifth day. I was able to do that. That's a huge stepping stone for me."