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Rogers back to work after non-stop calendar year

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PHOENIX -- For the Brewers' reigning Minor League Player of the Year, it's difficult to determine where 2013 ended and '14 began.

"I did take two days off," Jason Rogers said with a shrug.

The 25-year-old utility man, who turns 26 on March 13, barely stopped moving during the past calendar year. He reported early last year for Spring Training before hitting .270 with 22 home runs and 87 RBIs in 133 games for Double-A Huntsville, earning him the Brewers' Robin Yount Performance Award, presented annually to the system's top player.

From Huntsville, he went to the Surprise Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League and batted .311 in 18 games. Then it was off to the Brewers' academy in the Dominican Republic to work on footwork at third base, a position Rogers manned in college but has seen only once as a professional. When the Brewers heard Este had an opening for an outfielder, Rogers joined the Dominican Winter League and played 13 more games.

"I was dead by January. Dead," he said. "It was a long season."

He got home to Florida on Jan. 15. Rogers took those two days off, then resumed weight training.

Does he worry about fatigue carrying into 2014?

"No, I think the experience from last year will help me," Rogers said. "I'll take it day by day, and when I see myself getting fatigued, I'll be able to make an adjustment a lot quicker."

Rogers credited former Double-A manager Darnell Coles for helping him get through tired stretches during the season, and spoke during the Brewers' January fanfest in Milwaukee with shortstop Jean Segura, who carried a similarly heavy workload into last season and wore down during the second half. Segura offered some tips.

A 32nd round Draft pick in 2010 who was just added to the roster this winter, Rogers relished his long grind of a season.

"It was really my first chance to play every day," said Rogers, who had dealt with some injuries, including a broken bone in his hand in 2011. "I finally got in good shape, and that helped a lot."

In his first big league camp, "I'm just taking it all in, talking to the older guys as much as I can about how they run things, how to go about your business. I'm a quiet person, but I know some of these guys from the Minor League side, a lot of them, really. I'll be trying to get to know everybody else."

Does Rogers see a position that offers the quickest path to the Majors?

"I think all of them are," he said. "I'll play wherever. Whatever gets me up the line."

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

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