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Sunday outing key for reliever Rogers

Sunday outing key for reliever Rogers

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Mark Rogers is scheduled to start one of the Brewers' split-squad games on Sunday and remains a candidate for the Opening Day bullpen, manager Ron Roenicke said.

The 27-year-old former first-round Draft pick is out of options and reported to camp a candidate for the starting rotation, but experienced a case of "dead arm" that impacted his velocity and command. His last two outings have been simulated games, and the Sunday outing -- either at home against the Rockies or on the road against the Padres -- could be Rogers' last chance to discover his velocity and command.

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Is it possible for those traits, missing in recent weeks, to simply re-appear?

"Well, I think so," Roenicke said. "It seems to do it for him during the season. Some guys, for whatever reason, it just takes a while to get that velocity. We're still waiting for a couple of guys."

Rogers' status will determine how many openings remain in a relief corps already expected to include closer John Axford, left-handers Tom Gorzelanny and Michael Gonzalez and right-handers Burke Badenhop, Jim Henderson and Brandon Kintzler. It appears the Brewers are open to carrying eight relievers to start the season.

Besides Rogers, other candidates include Michael Olmsted, Alfredo Figaro and Josh Stinson.

"I see it [going down] to the last few days," Roenicke said. "I don't see us making any decision before that. Each one of them brings something a little bit different."

Figaro and Stinson could deliver "length," Roenicke said. Olmsted is a one-inning man but posses a power arm and a cross-body delivery that could be very tough on right-handed hitters.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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