MILWAUKEE -- All Mark Rogers has to do Sunday is return to the Majors for the first time in nearly two years, replace the great Zack Greinke in the Brewers' rotation and make a statement about his own viability for what figures to be a remade rotation in 2013.
No pressure, kid.
"In this game, there's so much that's out of your control that I don't want to get too far ahead of myself," Rogers said. "I'm excited about the opportunity to start [Sunday] and to be back here and have this experience again. I just want to do everything I can to make the most of it."
Rogers was an hour from making a start for Triple-A Nashville on Friday when he was informed he'd been promoted back to the big leagues, where Rogers posted a 1.80 ERA in two Brewers starts and two relief appearances in 2010. Ten minutes later, Rogers learned Greinke had been traded to the Angels.
It was the first of what could be a series of departures from Milwaukee's 2011 Opening Day pitching rotation. Yovani Gallardo is signed through at least 2014, but Shaun Marcum is a free agent, Randy Wolf will be a free agent assuming the team declines his $10 million option, and Chris Narveson is a question mark after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in May.
The main in-house options to join Gallardo in 2013 are right-handers Marco Estrada, Mike Fiers, Tyler Thornburg and Rogers, who is still just 26 years old.
After his late-season splash in 2010, Rogers reported to 2011 Spring Training competing for a spot in the Brewers' starting rotation, but had a setback with his surgically-repaired right shoulder, then was bothered by carpal tunnel syndrome in his right wrist. That August, he was suspended 25 games after testing positive for a banned stimulant and the Brewers opted to have him undergo surgery on both wrists to alleviate the carpal tunnel issue.
Now, more than eight years after the Brewers made Rogers a first-round Draft pick and nearly two years after he debuted in the Majors, he's back to 100 percent. He credited Triple-A pitching coach Fred Dabney for helping him along.
"I finally feel healthy," Rogers said. "Shoulder, hand, everything. I feel very confident with where I'm at right now."