A former first-round Draft pick and the Brewers’ reigning Minor League pitcher of the year were among the latest round of camp cuts Monday.
Right-handers Mark Rogers and Amaury Rivas were optioned to Double-A Huntsville, and left-hander A.J. Murray and catcher Martin Maldonado were returned to Minor League camp. The moves left 48 players on the Brewers’ spring roster.
Rogers, Milwaukee’s first-round pick in 2004, and Rivas, who won top pitcher honors last season, each appeared twice in Cactus League games. For Rogers, it marked another step on a long road back from shoulder injuries that so far have derailed his professional career.
“He’s worked very hard,” Brewers manager Ken Macha said. “His delivery is such that he’s a little more on-line — a lot more online. When you start cutting loose on pitches like he did this year, he should feel very good.”
Rogers did not allow a run in a pair of two-inning appearances. It was his second Major League Spring Training camp, but he was unable to pitch last year because he was still recovering from a 2008 season lost entirely to shoulder surgery.
Last year at Class A Brevard County, Rogers had a 1.67 ERA in 22 starts and one relief appearance. He also pitched in the prospect-rich Arizona Fall League.
They key, he agreed, it simply staying healthy.
“I’m OK with that statement,” Rogers said. That’s been our goal, to get 100 percent healthy and compete at the highest level. I’ve done that. I’ve been able to prove to [Macha] and everybody else that I’m healthy, and now I have to go do it consistently. There’s more work I can do, but it is already getting more and more comfortable.”
Rogers, 24, was pleased that his parents, Craig and Staphanie, were in the stands for both of his Cactus League outings. They were in town from Maine.
Rivas is also 24 and was Rogers’ teammate last season at Brevard County, where he went 13-7 with a 2.98 ERA and was honored along with Minor League Player of the Year Logan Schafer. Macha was impressed with Rivas’ change-up, which the manager referred to as a, “plus, plus pitch.”
Murray and Maldonado were both in camp as nonroster invitees. Murray, who has big league experience with the Rangers, will likely end up at Triple-A Nashville.