Minus one booming Pablo Sandoval home run, top Brewers pitching prospect Mark Rogers felt pretty good about his Cactus League debut Monday. His manager is not sold quite yet.
Rogers, whose debut was delayed by some early-spring stiffness in his right shoulder, worked the sixth inning against the Giants and surrendered two runs on three hits, including a long Sandoval homer to right-center field.
“He got me pretty good,” Rogers said with a grin.
“[Rogers] just didn’t look like he was comfortable,” Roenicke said. “He worked really slow, a little too methodical. I’m sure he’s a little cautious. He’s just kind of feeling his way through, which is OK. It’s his first outing. He’s kjust not sure how the arm is going to react, and I guess that’s natural.”
Rogers chalked it up as a positive step in his bid to replace the injured Zack Greinke in the Brewers’ April pitching rotation.
“Once I got going and got into it, my arm felt fine,” said Rogers, who has had two shoulder surgeries in his career. “That’s the important thing right now. Obviously, I wish the results were better. But, you know what? It’s a step in the right direction.”
If he stays on a regular schedule for the remaining two weeks of Spring Training, Rogers should be at 75 pitches by the time the Brewers break camp. The club needs a sixth starter on April 5 or 6, then twice more in April if Greinke remains sidelined with his cracked rib, and Rogers looks like a leading candidate.
Fellow prospect Wily Peralta could also get a look, and manager Ron Roenicke on Monday mentioned non-roster pitchers Eulogio De La Cruz and Marco Estrada as options.
”I’m glad I’m healthy,” Rogers said. “I felt like I was just letting the ball go and not thinking about it when I was on the mound. That’s the positive I’ll take out of this.”