PHOENIX – Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Mark Rogers knows there’s little time left to rediscover his velocity.
Yet time is what he said he needs most.
“I need time to build my strength and the velocity will come like that,” Rogers said after a Brewers split squad beat the Colorado Rockies 7-5 on Sunday. “I can tell you for a fact that it will be there. It’s just a matter of getting there.”
Rogers, a first-round pick of the Brewers in 2004, started seven games for Milwaukee last season and went 3-1 with a 3.92 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 39 innings, featuring a fastball in the low- to mid-90s.
But this spring has been a different story.
On March 12, Rogers made his third spring start and surrendered six runs — three earned — on three hits and four walks in 11/3 innings. After that outing, he was pulled from live action in favor of bullpen sessions in an effort to help him find his former speed and command.
Against the Rockies, Rogers allowed two runs on two hits in three innings. But he also walked two, threw barely half his pitches for strikes and topped out at 89 mph.
“That’s not me, really,” Rogers said. “It’s frustrating for me, but it’s part of the game. Everyone has times when they don’t feel like they have their best stuff.”
Complicating matters for both Rogers and the Brewers is the 27-year-old from Orrs Island is out of minor league options, leaving Milwaukee the choice of relegating him to the bullpen or attempting to sneak him through waivers.
“The good thing is I’ve been with the Brewers for multiple years,” Rogers said. “They know I’ll bust my butt and get back to being myself. I view myself as a starting pitcher. At some point, I want to be in the starting rotation.”
In theory, Rogers also could be placed on the disabled list, though he has yet to complain of any specific injury.
YANKEES: New York was close to an agreement to acquire outfield Vernon Wells from the Los Angeles Angels.
Wells, 34, is owed $42 million over the next two seasons. The Yankees would end up being responsible for about $12 million to $13 million of that total.
• Derek Jeter will likely start the season on the disabled list because of a sore left ankle as he recovers from surgery last October.
DODGERS: Josh Beckett gave up seven runs in four innings in a 7-4 loss to the Oakland Athletics at Phoenix.
REDS: Bronson Arroyo was hit on his pitching hand by David Murphy’s line drive during Cincinnati’s 7-2 loss to the Texas Rangers at Surprise, Ariz., but X-rays did not detect a break, and Arroyo said he’s optimistic he won’t miss a start.
PADRES: San Diego released veteran right-handed pitcher Freddy Garcia, eliminating one candidate for the No. 5 spot in the starting rotation.
ROCKIES: Colorado bolstered its starting rotation by signing Jon Garland, who was released Friday by Seattle.