Mark Rogers’ hopes of returning to the major leagues suffered a setback this week when the Texas Rangers released him from a minor league contract. Rogers, 29, spent a month in camp with the minor league players after signing in late February.

Rogers did make a brief relief appearance with the major league team.

Despite the turn of events, Rogers was upbeat when reached Friday afternoon by phone. Rogers lives in Chandler, Arizona with his family.

“I wasn’t as sharp as I wanted to be,” said Rogers, who was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers with the fifth overall pick in the 2004 draft out of Mt. Ararat High in Topsham. Milwaukee gave Rogers a reported $2.2 million to sign, just days after his graduation.

“I wished I had made more of the opportunity,” said Rogers of his latest comeback attempt.

“Physically, I felt great. My velocity was back. I hit 98 mph. They wanted me as a short reliever, a one-inning pitcher, and I’m used to being a starter. It was tough making the adjustment from being a starter to a reliever,” he said.


Rogers is still hopeful of being picked up by another major league team.

“I’m still waiting to hear back from some other teams,” he said.

Rogers said if he doesn’t hear back before too long, he will play independent league ball like he did last summer for the Lancaster, Pa. Barnstormers in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball Teams.

“I’m not sure exactly where, but it will either with Lancaster or the Long Island Ducks. I have to go where the best opportunity is. I’m looking forward to it. I will be back as a starter,” he said.

Rogers worked out with Bill Swift, the South Portland native, before being signed by the Rangers. Swift, who pitched a combined 13 seasons in the major leagues with the Seattle Mariners, Colorado Rockies and the San Francisco Giants, is the baseball coach at Arizona Christian University in Phoenix. Swift went 21-8 for the Giants in 1993 and finished with a career record of 94-78.

Rogers said the workouts with Swift helped.


“Looking back on it, I was the best prepared I’ve been,” said Rogers.

He worked two-thirds of an inning with the major league club this spring. Rogers faced five batters, allowed one hit and struck out one. The rest of Rogers’ work was in the minor league camp.

“I only got to throw five innings. One time, it rained on my day to pitch,” he said.

Rogers has battled shoulder problems most of his professional career, but is feeling fine now. He’s looking to regain his pitching form from the 2012 season when he started seven games for the Brewers and had a 3-1 record. He pitched 39 innings, striking out 41. He was the power pitcher the Brewers envisoned him to be when they drafted him. Two seasons before, Rogers made his big league debut. That season, he pitched in four games with two starts and didn’t have a record. He pitched a total of 10 innings and struck out 11.

Rogers is determined to return to the big leagues, and at 29, feels he still has plenty of gas left in the tank.

Last year playing for the Barnstormers, Rogers said: “I love baseball. If I’m healthy, you’d have to put me in handcuffs and drag me away before I stop.”

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