Brendan Rodgers Nearing End Of Labrum Surgery Recovery
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – When reflecting on the 2015 draft, Dansby Swanson and Alex Bregman are often the first two players who come to mind. The No. 1 and No. 2 picks in that class are shortstops who have become household names on elite teams.
But there’s another infielder trying to achieve similar stardom: Rockies shortstop Brendan Rodgers.
Picked third overall, the 23-year-old Rodgers is the top prospect in Colorado’s organization. He is more than two years younger than both Swanson and Bregman and experienced his first taste of the big leagues in 2019. During that time, he sharpened his craft by playing alongside seasoned veterans.
"I learned a lot while I was up there,” Rodgers said. "Guys like (David) Dahl, (Trevor) Story and Nolan (Arenado) taught me a lot.”
Rodgers played in 25 games with the big club before tearing the labrum in his right shoulder, ending his season. In just 76 at-bats, he batted .224 with seven RBIs.
Although he struggled to find his footing at the plate and had his season cut short, Rodgers used his brief time in Denver to gain the mentality of a full-time MLB player.
“(It) taught me not to take anything for granted,” Rodgers said.
When dealing with any season-ending injury, staying strong from a mental standpoint can be difficult. Remaining positive through grueling training processes while not seeing game action can be taxing for young players and veterans alike. Shortly after his shoulder surgery, Rodgers said he gained weight and lost some of his infielder build. This made it necessary for him to attack the conditioning workouts even harder before the 2020 season.
“I had to start eating right, training twice a day. It was a big jump,” Rodgers said. “Definitely just lose the big body thing, just take care of it. Get back in shape and get ready for spring. That was the goal.”
As the offseason progressed, Rodgers’ shoulder started to gradually heal. As a result, he became more diligent in training and fought to return to his pre-injury form.
“I just kept my head up, kept going,” Rodgers said. “I knew I’d be back out on the field. I knew it was a serious surgery, but I just kept pushing to get healthy.”
Rodgers, now fully immersed in spring training, has had an opportunity to show his skills at the plate in three games, going 2-for-6 with one RBI.
Colorado manager Bud Black credits Rodgers’ persistence to being ahead of schedule.
“I think the stick-to-it-iveness of Brendan as a young player, staying the course,” Black said. “It’s a sign of maturity, so that’s great. I think, more than anything, just working hard as far as the exercises – the tedious exercises he has to do, and doing them well, from what I’m hearing from the training staff.”
Even though Rodgers hasn't appeared in every game, he has participated in defensive drills during workouts. Veteran infielder Daniel Murphy has also been impressed with Rodgers’ work ethic since arriving at Salt River Fields.
“He looks like he really took his rehab seriously,” Murphy said. “The ball’s coming out of his hand really well. He looks really good, so far.”
Rodgers is still trying to make his mark in the big leagues, if his diligent recovery and rehab are any indication, he could reach the status of the two shortstops drafted ahead of him.
That’s what drives him.
“They both have had pretty good starts to their career,” Rodgers said. “Those are the guys I look after in my game and kind of wanna play and achieve some goals like them.”