MILWAUKEE—On the day Mark Rogers met with a hand specialist in Phoenix to schedule a surgical procedure, Major League Baseball announced that the 25-year-old righthander had been suspended for 25 games for a second positive test for a banned stimulant.
Beset with carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists—the doctor advised surgery on both—Rogers' latest setback ranks as perhaps the most bizarre. After being shut down for the second time this season, Rogers viewed the penalty almost as a secondary concern.
"We're disappointed, obviously, but we're supportive of the (drug) program," assistant manager Gord Ash said. "It's in place to do exactly what it's doing, which is to detect what's going on that shouldn't be."
Ash noted that the penalty for stimulant use is less severe than performance-enhancing substances for obvious reasons. "It's important that people understand this is not steroids, this is not (human growth hormone), and this is not performance-enhancing in that regard," he said. "This is a banned stimulant."
The fifth pick in the 2004 draft, Rogers certainly is no stranger to adversity. He sat out the entire 2007-08 seasons while recovering from a pair of shoulder surgeries that threatened his career.
Rogers persevered through those long, tedious rehab periods and returned to action in 2010, making it all the way to Milwaukee in September. In four appearances (two starts), he allowed two hits and two runs in 10 innings while recording 11 strikeouts.
Rogers experienced shoulder stiffness at the outset of spring training this year and fell behind. That took him out of the running to make the Opening Day roster as Zack Greinke went on the disabled list with a cracked rib.
Rogers attempted to pitch through his wrist ailment at Triple-A Nashville but logged a 13.20 ERA and 2.87 WHIP through 15 innings. The Brewers demoted him to high Class A Brevard County to catch his breath, but to no avail—he ran up a 9.37 ERA and 2.27 WHIP over 16 innings.
• Righthander Wily Peralta cruised through his first three Triple-A starts, going 2-0, 1.80 with 24 strikeouts, three walks and 11 hits allowed in 20 innings for Nashville.
• The Brewers shifted righty Michael Fiers to the Double-A Huntsville rotation on May 27 and had no reason to regret the decision. He went 8-2, 1.67 through his first 15 starts, notching 88 strikeouts and 27 walks in 86 innings at Double-A and Triple-A.