Rogers (10 K's) makes strong rotation case

No. 7 prospect shuts down Astros in final tuneup; Dickerson returns to lineup

March 27th, 2021

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Marlins left-hander made a strong final case for a spot in the Opening Day rotation in Friday night's 9-0 win over the Astros at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Rogers, ranked as Miami's No. 7 prospect by MLB Pipeline, pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings on 85 pitches (61 strikes) facing a Houston lineup absent of its marquee names. He allowed two hits, walked one batter and struck out 10.

The 23-year-old Rogers, who was briefly delayed from appearing in a Grapefruit League game this spring, would line up as the fifth member of the starting staff should the Marlins keep their current pitching order. Despite two off-days within the first nine dates of the regular-season schedule, Miami will go with a five-man rotation as part of its long-term plan to monitor starters' innings.

That would put Rogers on track to make his 2021 debut on April 6 in the second game of a home series against the Cardinals.

"I can't make that call right now, but it's a pretty good question and a good way to ask me to kind of name him a starter, but [I] won't go that far," manager Don Mattingly said during a Zoom call. "There's always going to be finishing things that happen. Sometimes you feel like guys are going to benefit by more reps at the level below, because there's quite a bit of things to work on.

"Other times, you look at it like this guy's not a complete finished product, but he's going to benefit by being in the big leagues having to take his lumps now and then, but growing there. Again, we'll find out what our decision is a little bit later, but he's shown very well in spring."

The 6-foot-5 Rogers started seven games after his Major League callup last season, bypassing the Triple-A level with just five Double-A outings under his belt. Rogers recorded 12.5 strikeouts per nine innings in that brief stint, and he carried that over into the spring. Across five outings, he permitted six runs on 13 hits with five walks, a Major League-high 29 strikeouts and a 1.13 WHIP.

Since his second start on March 10, when he had to roll over an inning, Rogers posted a 1.84 ERA. The rookie said he cleaned up some stuff, doing a better job of sequencing -- including throwing his breaking ball in fastball counts -- and attacking the strike zone.

"I think I made a really good case this spring," Rogers said during a Zoom call. "I can compete with the best guys in baseball, give my team an opportunity to win. I'm really looking forward to seeing what these next few days bring, and look forward to the season and to start off strong."

Dickerson back in lineup

Corey Dickerson knocked a two-run single, walked three times and scored twice from the leadoff spot in his return to the lineup on Friday. Dickerson had been sidelined since Monday with shoulder soreness after rolling his left (glove) hand underneath his body making a diving catch on Sunday. During that time in between appearances, he kept hitting in the cages.

Dickerson, who is the Marlins' projected starting left fielder, is 10-for-37 with six runs, two doubles, four walks, three strikeouts and one stolen base in 14 games.

"It's one of those things that mentally, when the lights turn on, I'm ready to play baseball," Dickerson said during a Zoom call. "It doesn't matter how many days I'm out, it feels like I haven't missed a beat."

Berti does it all

Super-utility player Jon Berti added another defensive position to his resume: first base. Berti, who had never appeared there before in the Majors or Minors, took over for Jesús Aguilar in the seventh inning against the Nationals on Thursday. The 5-foot-10 Berti has played every position but first base, catcher and pitcher since reaching the big leagues in 2018.

"It's as much as anything a tool on his belt, and just the fact he gets over there if we have to do that in a crazy game," Mattingly said. "You never know really what happens in a course of a game in the National League with switches and innings, and whatever. It's just the fact of getting him over there. I don't foresee him really playing there a lot, or even hardly any, but I do want him to at least have been over there."

When asked if the Marlins had an emergency catcher on their roster, with Jorge Alfaro and Chad Wallach projected as the backstops, Mattingly said the club hadn't discussed it yet. Berti could be an option for that role.

Prospect watch

• Jazz Chisholm (MLB's No. 66) finished 1-for-2 with an RBI single.

• Kameron Misner (Miami's No. 17) went 1-for-2 with a run scored.

Worth noting

MLB Network's first showcase game of the season will be next Friday's Citrus Series matchup between the Rays and Marlins at Marlins Park. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. ET. Right-hander Pablo López is scheduled to start for Miami.

Up next

Right-hander Sandy Alcantara will make his sixth and final Grapefruit League start at 6:05 p.m. ET on Saturday against the Cardinals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. He will square off against fellow Opening Day starter Jack Flaherty. Watch it free on MLB.TV.