Reporting Matt Loede
CINCINNATI (92.3 The Fan) – The Indians new long relief man has arrived, as Wednesday Esmil Rogers made his first appearance with the team before game two of their series in Cincinnati.
Rogers, who was acquired by the Indians for cash on Tuesday from the Rockies, is 26 years old and has been both a starter and relief guy in his career.
He told reporters on Wednesday that along with his fastball, he also throws a slider, changeup and curve. He also said he was happy to hear about his move to the Indians.
“I was excited, excited to be here with a team that is a really good team,” Rogers said. “There’s a lot of talent here, and I think it’s a good opportunity for me.”
Rogers was told on Saturday after his outing with the Rockies that he was being designated for assignment. The youngster said he went home and prayed about it, and Tuesday those prayers were answered when it was announced he would join the Indians.
This season Rogers has made 23 relief appearances for the Rockies, going 0-2 with an 8.06 ERA (23 ER/25.2 IP). The right-hander is averaging 10.2 strikeouts-per-9.0 innings, fanning 29 batters against 18 walks.
He has also held left-handed batters to a .235 (12-51) clip. Bringing him to Cleveland was something of interest for the Indians, who decided that his 95-MPH fastball was worth a look in person.
“He’s got a great arm that’s why we’re taking a flier on him,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “It’s about command, he’s just got to cut down on his walks and be able to repeat his delivery.”
Rogers only started pitching at the age of 20, and before then was a shortstop. He was originally signed by Colorado in 2003 as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic and has gone 34-30 with a 4.65 ERA.
The pitcher himself said this season he’s had issues with his fastball going high on him, a reason behind his poor record and ERA. It’s something Acta says Rogers needs to work on.
“He’s got himself in trouble in the past being consistent keeping the ball down,” Acta said. “Regardless of how you throw if you don’t do that up here your going to struggle.”
The Indians hope that a change of scenery will be the key for Rogers, who played rookie ball in the past with Indians catcher Carlos Santana, and is a former teammate of Ubaldo Jimenez.