Former New Albany star and University of Louisville standout Josh Rogers made his fifth Major League appearance Friday night.
The left-handed pitcher threw 41/3 innings of relief in the Baltimore Orioles’ 13-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox.
Rogers received his third big-league call-up earlier in the day, when the Orioles placed right-handed pitcher Josh Lucas on the 10-day injured list due to a right shoulder strain and recalled Rogers from the Norfolk Tides — Baltimore’s Triple-A affiliate.
Against the Red Sox, Rogers yielded two earned runs on five hits while walking two and striking out one.
He entered the game with two outs in the top of the fifth and the O’s trailing 11-1 after J.D. Martinez’s home run. Rogers gave up a single to Rafael Devers, Boston’s cleanup hitter, before getting Xander Bogaerts to line out for the third out.
Rogers gave up back-to-back singles to Brock Holt and Christian Vazquez to start the sixth before striking out Jackie Bradley Jr. and getting Eduardo Nunez to ground out. Rogers, however, then walked Michael Chavis before giving up a two-RBI single to Andrew Benintendi.
Rogers, though, seemed to settle down after that. He hit Devers to start the seventh, but retired the next three Red Sox batters.
In the eighth he issued a one-out walk to Nunez before inducing Chavis into a double play. Then in the ninth, Rogers gave up a one-out single to Martinez, but that was it.
Rogers is now 1-2 with a 7.88 ERA in five big-league appearances.
Rogers received his first big-league call-up late last August. He went 1-2 with an 8.49 earned-run average in a trio of starts for the O’s.
He began this season with the Tides, but was called up — albeit briefly — in early April. On April 10 he pitched 32/3 innings of relief in a loss to Oakland, then was sent back down after the game.
“Getting called up, it was really unexpected,” Rogers recalled. “I was in Charlotte, I was about to start that night … I literally was putting my jersey and stuff on — we had a rain delay — so there was a doubleheader and they were like, ‘Hey you’re gonna get called up.’"
He allowed five earned runs on four hits, including a trio of home runs, in that brief stint.
“I went up there for about eight hours and filled in for those guys and came right back down,” Rogers said in late April two days after making a start against the Louisville Bats. “It was good. It’s good to get up there and get some more experience and be comfortable with the guys and hopefully I can get back up there sooner than later.”
Sooner became Friday afternoon.
Rogers has struggled, in part due to the new Triple-A baseball that is being used this year, with the Tides. In 11 starts he is 2-6 with a 8.51 earned-run average. In 55 innings pitched Rogers has yielded 53 runs (52 of which have been earned) on 86 hits while walking 10 and striking out 33. He has yielded 18 home runs and opposing teams are hitting .357 against him.
“It’s a big difference,” Rogers said of the change in baseballs. “It’s definitely an adjustment for everybody, less for hitters I think just because the ball does go a little bit farther. But as far as spinning the ball, breaking balls and stuff like that, it is an adjustment for the balls in the previous year. You can see it, it’s no myth that the ball is going farther. They’re on pace to hit 600 or 700 more home runs in this league this year.”
Fittingly, Rogers’ promotion came just two days before Louisville plays in the College World Series. He pitched for the Cards when they made it to Omaha, Neb., in 2014.