August 20, 2011

Pitcher from Maine suspended

Minor-leaguer Mark Rogers will sit out 25 games after Major League Baseball says he violated its policy against using stimulants.

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Major League Baseball announced Friday that it has suspended Mark Rogers of Orrs Island, a pitcher in the Milwaukee Brewers organization, for 25 games for his second violation of the league's policy against the use of stimulants.

Mark Rogers
click image to enlarge

Mark Rogers of Orrs Island was a first-round draft pick by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2004 right out of high school.

2011 file photo/The Associated Press

Rogers, 25, might not begin serving the suspension until next year because he is scheduled to have surgery soon to relieve carpal tunnel syndrome in both of his wrists.

It was not disclosed what stimulant Rogers used, or when Rogers' first violation occurred. His agent, Jack Toffey, said the stimulant was not amphetamines.

Toffey said there may have been a problem with "the number of medications related to the carpal tunnel syndrome.

"Obviously, I'm surprised and disappointed," Toffey said. "But the rules are in place. There is no disputing it. You cannot appeal."

Rogers could not be reached for comment Friday. Toffey said his client "did not want to talk about it."

Rogers was a first-round draft pick of the Brewers in 2004, after a stellar season for Mount Ararat High School in Topsham, and made his major league debut last year. But he began this season in the minors and has stayed there because of his injured wrists.

When the carpal tunnel syndrome was diagnosed in May, the Brewers tried to relieve the problem medically while limiting Rogers' pitching appearances. Recently, the Brewers announced that Rogers would have surgery.

Toffey and the Brewers emphasized that Rogers was suspended because of a stimulant, not a performance-enhancing drug.

"It's important that people understand this is not steroids, this is not HGH (human growth hormone)," Brewers Assistant General Manager Gordon Ash told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Penalties for steroids and HGH are more severe and are handed out after one violation. First baseman Mike Jacobs of the Colorado Rockies organization was suspended this week for 50 games after testing positive for HGH.

Major League Baseball rules concerning stimulants call for counseling for a first offense. A second offense is a 25-game suspension. A third offense is 80 days. A fourth offense is a lifetime ban.

The rule took effect before the 2006 season.

Rogers' suspension is another setback in a career in which he has made repeated comebacks after injuries, including two shoulder surgeries. He finally reached the major leagues on Sept. 10, 2010. He made four appearances with the Brewers last season, allowing two runs in 10 innings.

But in spring training this year, Rogers was slowed by shoulder stiffness. He began the year in Triple-A, the highest level of the minors. But the wrist problems eventually surfaced and Rogers went on the disabled list.

He has been making sporadic pitching appearances at lower levels of the minors. His last appearance was Aug. 13 in the Class A Florida State League. He gave up six runs in three innings.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at:

kthomas@pressherald.com

 

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