MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers added four pitchers, including 2004 first-round Draft pick Mark Rogers, to their 40-man roster Wednesday, a move to protect those players from next month's Rule 5 Draft. In addition to Rogers, who has not pitched since 2006 because of shoulder injuries, the Brewers protected Omar Aguilar, Alex Periard and Cody Scarpetta. All four pitchers are right-handed. The Brewers' plan for Rogers was unknown before Wednesday because of his injury history. He was hitting triple digits on the radar gun when the Brewers gave him a $2.2 million signing bonus after making him the fifth overall selection in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, but he injured his shoulder midway through the season and underwent his first surgery the following winter to repair a torn labrum. Rogers missed all of '07 but was hopeful of pitching in '08 before undergoing another surgery in June to clear scar tissue.
He almost certainly will begin 2009 in the low Minors, and the Brewers will have to burn the first of his three options to get him there. "But we couldn't take the chance [of losing him]," assistant general manager Gord Ash said. Rogers began a throwing program in August and has been making progress, Ash said. Rogers is currently home for the Thanksgiving holiday but will return early next month to Maryvale Baseball Park for the Brewers' Winter Development Camp. Aguilar, 23, was the Brewers' 30th-round Draft pick in 2005. He split the 2008 season between Class A Brevard County and Double-A Huntsville, combining to go 3-3 with a 1.98 ERA in 47 relief appearances. He is currently representing the Brewers in the prestigious Arizona Fall League, where Aguilar made 10 scoreless appearances before allowing two earned runs on Tuesday. Periard, 21, is one of the Brewers' recent Canadian imports. A 16th-round pick in 2004, he's also pitching in the AFL, though not as well as Aguilar (10.50 ERA in nine appearances, including 18 earned runs in his past 7 2/3 innings). During the '08 regular season, Periard was 11-10 with a 4.06 ERA in 26 starts and one relief appearance between Brevard County and Huntsville. Scarpetta, who just turned 20 in August, was drafted by the Brewers in 2007 but had to be re-signed in '08 after his original deal was voided because of a ruptured flexor tendon in his right hand. Because he re-signed with the same team that drafted him, Scarpetta immediately became Rule 5 eligible (had he signed with a different team, that would not have been the case). That technicality forced the Brewers to offer Scarpetta roster protection earlier than usual, rather than risk losing him next month. The Seattle Mariners would have been well aware of Scarpetta's loophole, since their new GM is former Brewers scouting director Jack Zduriencik. Wednesday's additions left the Brewers with 35 players on the roster, including reliever Salomon Torres, who announced his intent to retire on Nov. 11 but has yet to file the proper paperwork, according to Ash. "If he is serious about retirement, he has the necessary forms to fill out and return," Ash said. "As of today, he has not done so." With so many openings on the roster, Torres' unsettled future did not affect the Brewers' decisions on who to protect from the Rule 5 Draft, an exercise that helps prevent teams from burying prospects in the Minor Leagues when there are big league opportunities in other organizations. Generally, players who signed when they were 19 or older -- like Aguilar did -- must be protected after four Minor League seasons. Players signed when they were 18 or younger -- like Periard and Rogers were -- must be protected after five seasons.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.