Brewers Take Things Slow With Recovering Rogers





PHOENIX—Righthander Mark Rogers has built a career out of overcoming major setbacks, so he wasn't about to let a minor one trip him up in spring training.

The Brewers unexpectedly found themselves in the market for a fifth starter when they lost ace Zack Greinke for the start of the season with a cracked rib, which he sustained while playing pick-up basketball. As the top pitching prospect in the organization, Rogers jumped to the head of the line.

But when the 25-year-old experienced shoulder tightness early in camp, he fell behind other pitchers on the depth chart. Club officials believed Rogers might be able to get enough work in to be ready for a start in the first week of the season, but they were understandably reluctant to rush a pitcher with a significant injury history.

Rogers missed the entire 2007 and '08 seasons while recovering from a pair of shoulder surgeries. To make sure he wouldn't be tempted to rush, the Brewers optioned him to Triple-A Nashville after one spring training inning.

"We looked at where he was and if he was going to be ready," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said at the time. "We're going to need a starter the first week of the season and then 10 days later. We don't think he can be ready in that time.

"I don't think he's able to catch up, especially coming off the tightness in his shoulder. We can't push him to that point to get to the sixth (inning), which is what we need a starter to do."

Under normal circumstances, 25-year-old righthander Amaury Rivas, the organization's minor league pitcher of the year in 2009, would have been next in line to fill a rotation spot. But he was even further behind than Rogers after being sidelined for an extended period by a tooth infection.

Next in the pecking order was 21-year-old, power-armed righty Wily Peralta, by far the least experienced of the trio with just eight appearances above the Class A level.

MICROBREWS

• Center fielder Logan Schafer broke his right thumb on a slide into second base and had surgery in late March that figured to sideline him for four to six weeks. Last year, he suffered a groin tear before camp and a broken foot during the season, costing him most of the year.

• Outfielder Caleb Gindl avoided serious injury when he crashed through a chain-link gate in exhibition play while chasing a foul ball.