After a spring plagued with shoulder problems, Mark Rogers expects to be back pitching for the Milwaukee Brewers by the end of June.

Rogers, an Orrs Island native, will pick up a baseball Thursday at the Brewers’ training complex in Maryville, Ariz., for the first time since undergoing a magnetic resonance imaging test three weeks ago.

The test showed nothing structurally wrong with his throwing shoulder — his right — and he was suffering from inflamed rotator muscles.

“It was nice to take an MRI because it explained what has been going on with my shoulder this spring and why my velocity is down a little bit,” said Rogers. “It gave me peace of mind in some respects because structurally there is nothing major wrong with my shoulder.”

Rogers’ latest medical setback began in spring training when he experienced a dramatic drop in velocity, which led the Brewers to place him on the disabled list at the start of the regular season because of “right shoulder instability.”

Rogers was nine pitches into a relief outing May 7 during a rehab assignment at Double-A Huntsville when he complained of “tingling” in his right arm.

Subsequently, he returned to Phoenix for further medical evaluation.

“The main issue was the fact that my posterior rotator cuff was extremely inflamed,” Rogers said. “When (the muscles) get so inflamed like that, they shut down to protect your shoulder.”

The inflammation, which went undetected until the MRI was taken, began early during spring training.

“It’s been going on since (the start of) spring and I figured I could work my way out of it,” Rogers said. “I’ve been through shoulder stuff before so I started working real hard on doing my exercises and doing everything I (could) possibly do to strengthen that shoulder, but ultimately it didn’t matter how much I strengthened it.

“Until that inflammation was treated, doing more work was actually making it worse.”

During his rehab assignment, Rogers’ fastball topped out at 94 miles per hour, but the inflamed muscles in his shoulder affected his pitching mechanics and his control was erratic.

“I still couldn’t consistently throw with the same arm slot,” he said. “It was very, very frustrating, but the MRI gave me peace of mind and gave me an explanation of what was happening.”

Since he was selected in the first round of the 2004 draft by the Brewers at the end of his senior year at Mt. Ararat High in Topsham, Rogers has had two shoulder surgeries and surgery on both wrists because of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Last summer the future looked bright for Rogers. He pitched a career-high 1341/3 innings over 18 starts with Triple-A Nashville and seven starts with Milwaukee.

For the Brewers, he was 3-1 with a 3.92 earned-run average and 41 strikeouts in 39 innings.

Last Sunday, Milwaukee placed Rogers on the 60-day disabled list to open a spot for reliever Donovan Hand on the team’s 40-man roster.

According to John Steinmiller, the Brewers’ coordinator of media relations, the designation was retroactive to the opening day of the season, which means Rogers could be eligible to return to the Brewers as soon as Thursday.

“He can remain on the list as long as he needs to be,” Steinmiller said.

Rogers hopes to be ready to pitch in a game again within the next three weeks.

“My goal is to be back in the big leagues at the end of June,” he said. “I know I’m going to be fine. It’s just a matter of putting in the work right now to get my shoulder where it needs to be.”

Rogers said there shouldn’t be any reason why he won’t be able to pitch as well as he did during his stint with Milwaukee last season.

“I went up in July of last season and threw the ball well,” he said. “If I’m healthy, I know I can be successful at the major league level.”

Rogers wants to prove the faith the Brewers have had in him through his medical travails has not been misplaced.

“Milwaukee’s been damn good to me and I want to go help that team win baseball games,” he said. “I’m just hoping I can get up there in the next three weeks and contribute, and help us get back into the race. There’s a lot of baseball left.”

Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

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