Josh Rogers believes he can be a starter in the Major Leagues. Now, he has the chance to prove it.
The former New Albany High School and University of Louisville standout, who was called up from Triple-A last week, has been added to the Baltimore Orioles starting rotation.
The left-hander will get his fourth big-league start this afternoon when he takes the mound for the O’s in their game at Oakland. First pitch is scheduled for 3:37 p.m. at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Rogers (0-0, 7.88 earned-run average) will face Athletics’ right-hander Chris Bassitt (3-3, 3.68 ERA).
The 24-year-old is coming off a solid relief appearance against the Boston Red Sox last Friday night, just a few hours after he was recalled from Norfolk. It was his second relief outing of the season with Baltimore after making three late-season starts for the Orioles last year following his trade from the New York Yankees.
Rogers has struggled this season in Triple-A, going 2-6 with an 8.51 ERA in 11 starts, but some of that can be attributed to the new baseballs being used at that level this year. He, however, is 32-26 with a 3.76 ERA in 79 minor-league appearances, including 74 starts. Despite his two relief stints with the O’s this season, on top of some talk that the Yankees might use him out of the bullpen before they traded him last year, Rogers has long-believed he has the stuff to be a starter.
“I think I’m a starting pitcher personally,” Rogers said two days after giving up nine runs on 13 hits in 4 2/3 innings of a no-decision against the Louisville Bats in late April. “Obviously my first four starts here haven’t been great, but at the end of the day I’ve always started my whole life. It’s just something I’m comfortable with and I know I can do and I know I can do at that level too.”
Last season Rogers won his first start with Baltimore, giving up three earned runs on seven hits in five innings against Toronto on Aug. 28, before losing his last two. The second of those was an abbreviated 1 1/3-inning outing at Tampa Bay in which the Rays scored six runs on six hits against him.
After beginning this season in Norfolk, Rogers was called up April 10 and pitched 3 2/3 innings of relief that night against Oakland at Camden Yards. He gave up five earned runs on four hits — including three home runs — while walking one and striking out one. He was sent back down to the Tides that night.
Last Friday, however, the Orioles placed right-hander Josh Lucas on the 10-day injured list and recalled Rogers. That night he came out of the bullpen against the reigning world champion Red Sox with two outs in the top of the fifth and Boston leading 11-1, and was steady. Rogers yielded two earned runs on five hits while walking two and striking out one in 4 1/3 innings. A couple of days later word came out that Rogers would replace David Hess (1-9, 7.36) in the Orioles’ starting rotation.
“I’ve got to just perform better and probably shut up a little bit and just pitch better,” Rogers said in April. “I know I keep saying that, but I can say it all I want, but I’ve got to turn the results on the field. I think I’m a starter, but I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team. Whatever role they see me in and want me to do I’ll be happy to do it.”