Rogers leaned on Cashner long-distance

The friendship that developed between pitchers Andrew Cashner and Josh Rogers in spring training shifted a bit toward mentorship last week as the veteran decided to contact the rookie.

A phone call that accomplished two purposes. Check on Rogers’ life outside of baseball and pass along some professional advice.

rogers-josh-fires-white-spring-sidebar.jpgRogers was struggling and unable to gain a promotion until the Orioles had little choice. They needed a starter for Friday night, coincidentally with Cashner scratched due to a blister on his middle finger, and a fresh arm for a depleted bullpen.

Luis Ortiz got the start and Rogers was tabbed to replace injured reliever Josh Lucas. Only one of them stuck around after the game, with Ortiz optioned back down to Triple-A Norfolk and Rogers becoming a candidate to start Wednesday afternoon in Oakland.

Rogers also could follow the opener if manager Brandon Hyde chooses to go that route.

Cashner reached out to Rogers after the Orioles returned from their last road trip, a two-city stop in Texas.

“We texted a little bit here and there, and he knew I was scuffling, so he just called me,” said Rogers, who was in Orioles camp until the club optioned him on March 24.

“A lot of it was not even about that. It was just kind of catching up with each other. It was good to just have that comfort level and, especially, to come up here and try to be successful, to know the guys, unlike last year. It’s a lot different, and I’m really thankful to be here.”

The veterans on the September roster and in spring training accepted Rogers almost immediately, appreciative of the respect he showed them and amused by his sense of humor. Rogers found a comfort zone, willing to give back as much as he took, and his confidence didn’t come across as obnoxiously cocky.

Rogers wandered over to Cashner’s locker again yesterday for a brief interaction before the veteran headed into the cafeteria for breakfast.

“I feel like we have a pretty good relationship. Over spring training, and even Alex Cobb, I talk to him, too,” Rogers said.

“(Cashner) just put me in a better mindset, just worry about things that I can control and focus on my outings. Not to worry about pitching to get called up, which I think is the worst thing you can do, and that’s what I felt like I was doing time in and time out. I was putting some added and unneeded pressure on myself.”

And delaying his chances at a call-up.

The Orioles have used 10 different starters. They scratched Rogers from an outing with Norfolk in case they needed him in Cleveland as an extra bullpen arm, but he didn’t join the club. Meanwhile, he posted an 8.51 ERA and 1.75 WHIP in 11 starts with the Tides, and opponents batted .357.

Rogers was eager to listen to anyone who could find a solution. Or at least relax him and build up confidence that might have been eroding.

“Cash did a good job, the pitching coach (Mike Griffin) down there. I talked to a lot of people just trying to find it, search for the kind of mentality I was looking for,” he said.

“It means a lot to me and he’s an awesome guy. He’s a good person to have around, for sure.”

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