Rookie Rogers Sees Big Picture In Milwaukee





MILWAUKEE—Mark Rogers is well aware that the offseason acquisitions of Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum made it unlikely that he will win a spot in the Brewers rotation in spring training.

That didn't diminish the 25-year-old righthander's enthusiasm for the moves, however.

"I'm excited about what we've done this winter," Rogers said. "It's impressive. I want to win as badly as anybody else, and I think we've got a great team now.

"If I don't make the team, I'll go to Triple-A and focus on pitching well there. Hopefully, I can help the team sooner than later . . . After last September, I know it's the only place to be."

Rogers earned an unexpected callup to Milwaukee during the final month of the 2010 season, as the Brewers rewarded him for his comeback from two shoulder surgeries that forced him to sit out the entire 2007 and '08 seasons.

After two initial relief outings, Rogers made his final two appearances for Milwaukee as a starter, notching 10 strikeouts in eight innings in that role. He didn't allow a hit until his fourth and final appearance, completing nine no-hit innings to begin his career. All told, he allowed two hits (both singles) in 10 innings and allowed two runs (1.80 ERA).

Rogers received a standing ovation from the Miller Park home crowd after working out of a first-inning, bases-loaded jam in his first start on Sept. 24, an experience he'll never forget.

"It was crazy," Rogers said. "If you would have told me (in 2007-08) that I would have gotten a September callup and then be the No. 1 prospect, I never would have believed it."

The Brewers' first-round pick in 2004, Rogers surfaced as the organization's top prospect after the trades of Brett Lawrie, Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress in deals for Marcum and Greinke. Furthermore, Milwaukee sent Rogers to Major League Baseball's rookie development program, an indication that they consider him ready for the big leagues.

If that ascension doesn't happen this spring, Rogers won't sweat the details.

"It's so easy to look at things from a different perspective," he said. "When you can't throw for two years, it's extremely humbling."

MICROBREWS

• Triple-A Nashville shortstop Luis Cruz, who is out of options, had a big winter-ball campaign for Culiacan of the Mexican Pacific League, batting .325/.364/.633 with 12 home runs in 166 at-bats.

• The Brewers will stage their own rising stars game on April 2 at Miller Park, featuring many of the top prospects in the system. Nashville's Don Money and low Class A Wisconsin's Matt Erickson will manage the teams.