Wednesday, 03 August 2011 16:27

Rogers going Down Under to continue baseball career

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By Chris Jaster — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Swift Current Indians pitcher Dan Rogers plans to be throwing more than just balls and strikes in October.

The 24-year-old Redwood City, Calif., native is also hoping to learn how to throw a boomerang.

That may be a valuable lesson for Rogers, as he has agreed to play for the Mulgrave Rebels in the Baseball Victoria Division 2 league in Australia in October.

The prospect of playing Down Under has Rogers quite excited.

“My big expectation down there is to see a new life experience,” said Rogers, who had a 4-2 record and a 2.61 ERA with the Tribe this regular season.

“I’m going to work by butt off on the baseball field and hope to win the championship they have down there. That will be priority number one.

“I’m going to give them everything I’ve got, but I’m also looking at having a whole new life experience.”

Rogers isn’t eligible to return to the Swift Current Indians next season as the Western Major Baseball League’s eligibility rules won’t allow American players who are no longer in college to compete in the league. Rogers finished his schooling at Texas A&M Kingsville in 2010.

That left the right-handed pitcher searching for options on how he could extend his career in baseball.

After talking to Indians head coach Joe Carnahan, Rogers was put in contact with one of Carnahan’s friends who set up Brian Strawn and John Snyder — who played with the Indians in 2010 — with teams in Sweden and Prague, Czech Republic respectively.

Rogers contacted Carnahan’s friend and a couple days later, he was talking to the Rebels. It didn’t take long before Rogers signed with the team.

Although baseball isn’t as popular in Australia as it is in Japan, Rogers is excited about the prospect of playing there, as the game is starting to become more popular.

“There’s a lot of baseball down there. It’s really picking up,” he said. “I guess Major League Baseball is putting in millions of dollars and making the Australian programs down there pick up. It’s really coming along there nicely.

“They have good connections down there and they’re giving me an opportunity to do what I love to do and I can’t turn it down.”

One of Mulgrave’s pitchers, Markus Solbach, was signed by the Minnesota Twins in February and is playing single-A ball in the Gulf Coast League this summer.

The six-foot-two, 195-pound Rogers said his move to Mulgrave, which is fairly close to Melbourne, is a big mystery to him, but he’s not afraid of the move.

He’s confident enough to make the move with his cleats and glove and he’s sure he can adjust.

There is, however, the possibility he may find some familiar faces in the Southern Hemisphere this fall. According to Rogers, approximately four or five other Indian players are considering moving to Australia to play ball this winter as well.

Those players are currently in negotiations, but nothing has been finalized yet.

If everything goes well overseas and more Swift Current Indians alumni go to Australia or Europe, Rogers may consider getting them together to form a team of all former Indians.

“If everyone wants to play and if there was a way to do it, I’m sure we would love to do something like that,” said Rogers. “Having (alumni) have a chance to play elsewhere and both (Strawn and Snyder) love where they are, I think it speaks well for us and Joe. He cares about his players who are leaving. .

“He’s got our backs and we don’t take that lightly. We appreciate everything he does for us too.”

Rogers didn’t end his career as an Indian the way he wanted to, as the losing pitcher of Game 1 of the best-of-five West Division semifinal. The Indians lost the series to Medicine Hat three games to one, dropping the deciding game at home 3-0 on Aug. 2.

Rogers is not letting that get him down, as he has a new team that he’s looking forward to join. He’s also planning on representing Swift Current, where he pitched for the last two summers, while he’s in Australia even though he is an American.

“I bought a pair of Canadian board shorts, so when I go down there I’ll be sporting some Canadian gear too,” he said. “It’s Molson Canadian shorts, but Canadian none the less.”

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