PHOENIX -- After getting hit hard in his last outing, when the Royals bested him for four runs and four hits in three innings, all Rockies right-hander Esmil Rogers cared about was one sheet of paper -- and it wasn't the stat sheet.
"After I pitched, I looked at the sheet of paper in the clubhouse and saw I was going to start again," Rogers said.
Rogers bounced back on Thursday. The final numbers were similar -- three runs and six hits in four innings of a 9-8 victory over the Brewers -- but it was mostly a thumbs-up effort. Rogers struck out four, and looked dominant with the exception of a four-batter sequence in the third inning.
Rogers erased the first two batters, but gave up singles to Rickie Weeks and Carlos Gomez, a home run to Ran Braun on a 1-2 pitch, and another single to Prince Fielder. He followed that up, however, by retiring the last four batters he faced to complete his outing.
So there were pluses and minuses on the ledger of Rogers, who is hoping to earn the opportunity to begin the year in the starting rotation if Aaron Cook has not recovered from right-shoulder soreness by then.
Rogers, who went up and down between the Majors and Triple-A last year, has worked on a changeup in an effort to show he can start. He has been almost exclusively a starter in the Minors, but had more relief appearances (20) than starts (eight) last year.
Rockies manager Jim Tracy said Rogers worked on a delivery flaw with his landing leg, which created problems in his last start.
"He was throwing quality fastballs for strikes today," Tracy said. "He made the one bad pitch to Ryan Braun. The thing was it was two out, nobody on, but the understanding part of it is the two [previous] base hits were good pitches that just found real good spots and got through there."