MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers quietly removed first-round Draft pick Mark Rogers from the 40-man roster on Friday, positioning Rogers to be a Minor League free agent after the World Series.
Rogers, 27, was the fifth overall pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft. His path to the Majors was slowed by shoulder and hand surgeries, but he appeared to gain a foothold last July and August by going 3-1 with a 3.92 ERA in seven Brewers starts.
He was expected to compete for a spot on the 2013 Opening Day roster, but he suffered from diminished velocity in Spring Training that the Brewers attributed to "shoulder instability," and he never made it past Double-A. He did touch 93 mph in his most recent start for advanced Class A Brevard County on Thursday, but was not considered for a September callup to Milwaukee.
Assistant general manager Gord Ash did not rule out re-signing Rogers to a Minor League contract, but nothing is guaranteed.
"We just talked to him [Friday], told him to finish his season in Brevard, go home after that and we'll be in touch," Ash said.
With Rogers' removal, the Brewers have 38 players on the 40-man roster, with the potential of adding one more as the player to be named in Friday's trade that sent John Axford to St. Louis.
Gorzelanny won't compete for '14 rotation
MILWAUKEE -- After experimenting with him as a starter, the Brewers have moved left-hander Tom Gorzelanny back to the bullpen and view him as a reliever heading toward next season.
"We tried to see if it was going to work," manager Ron Roenicke said. "We liked what we saw early, and I think just with the conversations he had with me, what we're thinking about next year, who is going to be a starter and who has a chance to be a starter, all parties kind of decided that he was going to go back to the bullpen."
Tyler Thornburg will start Monday against the Pirates. Gorzelanny, who last started on Wednesday in Pittsburgh, said he would be available for relief duty beginning Sunday or Monday.
He signed a two-year, $5.7 million contract in December to serve as a reliever and potential spot starter. When those spot starts came up, and Gorzelanny excelled in them, the Brewers wondered whether they had something and decided to audition him for the 2014 starting rotation.
But after allowing only one earned run over his first three starts and 16 innings, Gorzelanny pitched to a 6.87 ERA in his last seven starts, including Wednesday's loss to the Pirates, with 25 earned runs and 40 hits in 32 2/3 innings.
One of those outings was excellent -- a seven-inning start at Seattle on Aug. 10 in which Gorzelanny allowed three hits and no runs. Another was aborted after one inning when he was struck on the pitching elbow by a line drive. In the five others, Gorzelanny surrendered at least four earned runs.
"We know that he's there in case we need a starter, that he can do it," said Roenicke.
Thornburg has surrendered only one earned run over his first three Brewers starts this season, but Roenicke could not say Saturday whether he would remain in the rotation through September. The Brewers may use six starters while finishing the season with 20 games in as many days, but one of those spots will go to Johnny Hellweg, and another, at least for a start or two, may go to top prospect Jimmy Nelson.
"We're trying to figure out how to do this right," Roenicke said. "With two off-days [Sept. 5 and 9], we can't do a straight six-man and just run through it, because we've got too many guys on eight days [rest]. Probably the next week and a half, it's going to be messed up some. We'll probably have to bump people."
Brewers planning few September callups
MILWAUKEE -- With so many of their young prospects already in the Major Leagues, the Brewers were planning Saturday for an extremely short list of September callups.
Only one addition is expected Sunday, when active rosters expand from 25 to 40. It will probably be Donovan Hand, the right-handed reliever who posted a 3.75 ERA in 21 Brewers appearances this season, including seven starts. A starter, right-hander Johnny Hellweg, will be called up soon after, but will not join the starting rotation until the Brewers clear their off-days on Sept. 5 and 9.
Club officials have also debated promotion for right-hander Jimmy Nelson, MLB.com's top Brewers prospect. He will have to be added to the 40-man roster after the season, anyway.
But asked whether the Brewers need any extra position players or a third catcher, manager Ron Roenicke said, "not really."
"I'm having a hard time playing [backup catcher Martin Maldonado] enough," Roenicke said. "Maldy, I know he's had a rough year offensively this year, and I'm trying to play him, and I can't get him enough at-bats to get him going."
Roenicke stressed that the plan could change. If the team does add a bat, a leading contender would be first baseman/outfielder Sean Halton, who has appeared in 24 games with Milwaukee this year.
Generally speaking, Roenicke does not favor promoting a player from the Minors for September only to have him ride the bench.
"I think there's sometimes a reward, that you'd like to bring a guy up for what he's done in the Minor Leagues," Roenicke said. "And then the other guys, when you bring them up, you want to bring them up for the purpose of using them to further their development. If you can get a guy 3-4 starts, and you're thinking in the future, this guy has a chance to be a starter, I really think that helps him.
"But a regular, if you get him up here and he gets four at-bats for the month, I don't see how that helps you out."
• The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel raised a name -- right-handed reliever Michael Blazek -- who could be the player to be named in the Friday trade that sent John Axford to St. Louis. Blazek was optioned to Triple-A Springfield on Thursday, but he remained in St. Louis, according to the Post-Dispatch, an indication that he may be on waivers. Blazek, 24, had a 1.97 ERA and a .173 opponents' average in 36 appearances between Double-A and Triple-A this season, and a 6.97 ERA with 10 walks and 10 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings in the Majors.
The Post-Dispatch reported that the Brewers and Cardinals have until Oct. 3 to complete the trade.