On this day in 1986 Mark Rogers was born in Brunswick, Maine. He was still only 18 when the Brewers selected him fifth overall in the 2004 draft, and signed a few weeks later. Despite the fact that he had made just six professional starts in the Arizona League, Baseball America ranked him as the #55 prospect in all of baseball before the 2005 season.
From there, though, Rogers took the long route to the big leagues. He struggled mightily as a 19-year-old in Low-A ball in 2005, was shut down early in 2006 and lost two full seasons to various injuries in 2007 and 2008. He was healthy and effective again in 2009 and earned his first callup to the majors in 2010, but then lost most of the 2011 season to injury and a drug suspension that carried into 2012.
Rogers pitched in AAA for the third consecutive season in 2012 and posted somewhat pedestrian numbers, with a 4.72 ERA and 4.6 walks per nine innings before necessity led to his return to the majors in July. He made seven starts down the stretch for the Brewers and pitched well, though, carrying a 3.92 ERA through 39 innings and striking out 41 opposing batters.
Rogers is still only 27 and has a chance to make the Brewers' Opening Day rotation with a good spring. If he can do it, he'll be a pretty remarkable story of persistence for both a player and his organization. He's also one of just four active major leaguers born in Maine.
As mentioned above, Rogers turns 27 today. With help from Brewerfan.net, we'd also like to wish a happy birthday to 2012 Brevard County Manatee Matt Miller. He turns 24.
Finally, today is the second anniversary of Dave Bush signing with the Rangers as a minor league free agent and putting a punctuation mark on his Brewer career. We covered that event in this space last year.