Rogers nearing end of the line

Might Brewers right-hander Mark Rogers be making his final 2012 start tonight against the Cubs?

“I don’t want to say this is his last one,” manager Ron Roenicke said, “but we’re getting close.”

Rogers, limited to 44 1/3 innings last season by a wrist injury and a suspension, entered Monday’s game against the Cubs having thrown 119 innings in 2012 between Milwaukee and Triple-A Nashville, and the consensus among club officials is that, for Rogers and several other pitchers, it is nearing the time to call it a season.

Whether the Brewers would simply shut down Rogers for the year or continue to pitch him in relief remains up for discussion, Roenicke said.

“Hard call,” Roenicke said.

Rogers had a 4.94 ERA in four starts entering his outing against the Cubs. Three times, he has been in line for his first Major League victory and lost it to a blown save.

“He’s done really well,” Roenicke said. “The thing I like about him most is he’s maintained his velocity through even the last few pitches he throws. That’s difficult to do. It shows you he’s a big, strong, physical guy, and he can maintain stuff through a game. Some guys come out and they’re throwing 95 [mph] in the first inning, and by the third inning they’re 91. That’s the guy you have to figure out — is this guy going to last as a starter, or are we going to have to make him a bullpen guy.”

Expect a series of alterations to the Brewers pitching rotation in the weeks ahead.

Right-hander Shaun Marcum was slated to make a third rehabilitation start Monday for Class A Wisconsin, and, assuming that goes well, would slide into the Brewers’ rotation on either Saturday or Sunday in Pittsburgh, depending on whether he wants the extra day of rest.

Asked whether someone would come out of the rotation or whether the Brewers would stick with six starters, Roenicke said, “We need to talk about that. We’ve talked about both — we’ve got plans for going with six, and we’ve got plans to make it five. We’ll still need to talk about that.”

Roenicke said that “right now, we are” inclined to keep left-hander Randy Wolf in the rotation, but “that will be something we talk about.” Wolf fell to 3-10 with a 5.69 ERA after losing to the Phillies on Sunday.

Ditto for righty Marco Estrada, whose workload is under watch because he is in the midst of his heaviest workload since 2009. Estrada worked 89 2/3 innings last season, when he pitched mostly for the Brewers in relief, but has already thrown 97 2/3 innings this year between the Brewers and Nashville.

The Brewers are expected to add two prospects — right-handers Wily Peralta and Tyler Thornburg — before the end of the season. Each could make a start or series of starts to help the team make decisions about its 2013 pitching rotation.

General manager Doug Melvin and Roenicke have time set aside to discuss these matters on Tuesday.


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