Former No. 1 pick Rogers strong in debut
Healthy season in Minors a huge step forward for right-hander
MILWAUKEE -- Right-hander Mark Rogers didn't have to go far when the Brewers added him to the active roster on Friday.Rogers was already in Milwaukee for his year-end motion analysis, part of the club's new focus on biomechanics as a method to improve performance and prevent injury. Since he was already in town and already on the 40-man roster, club officials decided to formally recall Rogers from Double-A Huntsville for the final three-plus weeks of the Major League season. He sat in the stands at Miller Park for games against the Cardinals on Tuesday and Wednesday, and he went to work on Friday night. Rogers pitched a perfect ninth inning in the Brewers' 4-0 loss and made Cubs first baseman Micah Hoffpauir his first strikeout victim. "It's been a long road," Rogers said. "The Brewers have been behind me the whole way, and to reach this point and get an opportunity, it's extremely exciting for me. Obviously, I would have liked to be here before this point, but I feel like I've been blessed to get a second opportunity to get to the point where I'm at right now." Rogers was the fifth overall pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft and might have joined Milwaukee's second-round pick that year, Yovani Gallardo, in the Majors several years ago had he not been dogged by a series of arm injuries. Rogers required major shoulder surgery in January 2007 that cost him all of '07 and '08, but he stayed healthy throughout '09 and '10, as he went 6-8 with a 3.65 ERA in 24 starts for Huntsville and one spot start for Triple-A Nashville. Rogers said he touched 101 mph with a fastball in his last start for Huntsville. Rogers struck out 111 batters in 111 2/3 innings, but he also issued 69 walks. Manager Ken Macha would like to see Rogers cut down on the free passes, but he congratulated the young right-hander for overcoming injuries to make it to the Majors. "It's similar to [Chris] Capuano, the stuff he's been through," Macha said. "You really appreciate those guys who come back and make it there." Rogers made his Major League debut out of the Brewers' bullpen, but he could see a start before the end of the season. Macha would prefer to avoid starting a rookie in a game with postseason implications, so he is eyeing the Brewers' late-September series against the Marlins. That happens to fall amid a stretch of 17 straight games without an off-day, so Macha could use Rogers to give his other five starters an extra day of rest. "I'd like to try to make this team out of camp next year," Rogers said. "That's my ultimate goal, and this is another tool to prepare myself for Spring Training next year. I'm up here to learn, and I'm extremely excited about it. It's another step in the right direction. "I've been healthy all year, and that was the main goal, to make my starts every fifth day. I was able to do that. That's a huge stepping stone for me."
Active roster stacked with first-round picks
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers are suddenly stacked with former first-round Draft picks.When right-hander Mark Rogers, the fifth overall selection in 2004, was called up on Friday, he gave the Brewers five former first-rounders on the active roster, all selected in consecutive First-Year Player Drafts from 2002-06.
Rogers joined first baseman Prince Fielder (seventh overall in 2002), second baseman Rickie Weeks (second overall in '03), left fielder Ryan Braun (fifth overall in '05) and right-handed reliever Jeremy Jeffress (16th overall in'06)."It made it a lot easier to come into the clubhouse with a lot of young guys here," Rogers said. The team's first-round pick in 2007, Matt LaPorta, was traded to Cleveland in the July '08 CC Sabathia deal, and he is currently the Indians' starting first baseman. And '08 first-rounder Brett Lawrie and supplemental first-rounder Jake Odorizzi remain top prospects. Lawrie has a very good chance to reach the Majors by the end of 2011. Subsequent high picks show the first round of the Draft is no sure bet. The Brewers' other supplemental first-rounder in 08, left-hander Evan Frederickson, continues to battle major command issues. Right-hander Eric Arnett, the Brewers' top pick in 2009, is coming off an awful year at two Class A affiliates -- 3-9 with a 6.79 ERA -- that called his future into serious doubt, though supplemental '09 first-rounders Kentrail Davis, an outfielder, and Kyle Heckathorn, a right-hander, remain on an upward path. Milwaukee's 2010 first-round pick, Dylan Covey, did not sign after a last-minute diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes.
Parra's move to bullpen not yet permanent
MILWAUKEE -- Manny Parra is having success since his move to the Brewers' bullpen, but manager Ken Macha is not ready to call it a permanent switch."I still view what he has done as a starter this year as better than what he did last year, regardless of what the numbers are," Macha said. Parra was 11-11 with a 6.36 ERA in 2009. He was 3-10 with a 5.65 ERA when the Brewers bounced him from the rotation last month in favor of fellow left-hander Chris Capuano. Macha praised Parra for cleaning up his delivery, for showing an improved curveball and being more consistent with his split-fingered fastball, an offspeed offering that Parra likes to use to put hitters away. "I'm positive on him, as far as what's happened with him this year," Macha said. "Perhaps coming in out of the bullpen and just letting it rip is going to help him out. "Last year, when I first saw him, there were so many things wrong with his delivery that it was a mess. You have to give him credit, he's corrected a lot of them."
Ryan Dempster presented Trevor Hoffman with a bottle of wine on Friday afternoon, a gift from the Cubs to congratulate Hoffman for reaching 600 saves. Cubs closer Carlos Marmol, who entered the series with 51 career saves, was in awe of the feat. "I love baseball," Marmol said, "but I'm not going to be here that long." Marmol would have to average 30 saves a year for the next 18 years -- give or take -- to reach 600. "No chance," Marmol said. ... The rookie-level Helena Brewers defeated the Missoula Osprey by a 3-1 score on Wednesday to secure a spot in the Pioneer League playoffs. After a rainout on Thursday, the teams tried again Friday to begin a best-of-three series for the league's North Division championship. Right-hander Matt Miller, Milwaukee's fifth-round Draft pick in June, was scheduled to start the opener. Miller went 7-2 with a 4.06 ERA in the regular season.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.