Brewers’ Rogers suspended for stimulant

A lousy season got worse Friday for Brewers pitching prospect Mark Rogers, who drew a 25-game suspension after a second positive test for a stimulant in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Rogers is on the Brewers’ 40-man roster but currently on the Class A Brevard County disabled list with carpal tunnel syndrome. In a cruel twist, Rogers’ suspension was handed down the same day he visited a hand specialist in Phoenix, who will perform surgery on both Rogers’ wrists next week.

MLB announced that Rogers’ suspension “is effective immediately,” and on that point the Brewers will seek clarification when the league offices re-open on Monday. Club officials want to ensure that Rogers’ DL status does not delay the start of his suspension.

As of the announcement, Brevard County had 17 games remaining this season.

“We’re disappointed, obviously,” Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash. “We’re supportive of the program; it’s in place to do exactly what it’s doing, which is to detect what’s going on that shouldn’t be.”

Ash had no advance notice of Rogers’ suspension. The league announced it at 7 p.m. ET on Friday.

When Ash took a call from a reporter he had yet to speak with Rogers, was rated the Brewers top overall prospect in MLB.com’s preseason rankings. He had slipped to 10th in the most recent list.

“It’s important to note that this is not steroids, this is not HGH, this is not performance-enhancing in that regard,” Ash said. “This is a banned stimulant. I can’t even tell you exactly what it is because they don’t share it with us. That’s why the penalty is less severe, because it’s not one of those other performance-enhancing substances.”

The Brewers made Rogers the fifth overall pick in the 2004 Draft and stuck with him through multiple shoulder surgeries. He repaid that faith in 2010 with a breakthrough season that ended in the big leagues, with Rogers posting a 1.80 ERA in two Brewers starts and two relief appearances.

Based on that finish, the Brewers briefly considered Rogers for the Opening Day pitching rotation after Zack Greinke suffered a cracked rib in Spring Training. A minor shoulder setback took Rogers out of the running, and the wrist issue subsequently ruined his Minor League season.

Dr. Don Sheridan, the same hand specialist who operated on Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks, recommended Friday that Rogers undergo carpal tunnel release surgery on both wrists. The procedure requires a 4-6 week rehabilitation.

“If allowed, which I don’t know yet, hopefully he’ll be allowed to play some winter ball in preparation for Spring Training,” Ash said.

The Brewers have already burned Rogers’ three Minor League options, so unless he becomes of the rare players to qualify for a fourth, the team was already facing a difficult decision for next season.

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6 Comments

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