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Brewers 7, Rockies 5

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PHOENIX (AP)

Brewers right-hander Mark Rogers knows there's little time left to rediscover his velocity.

Yet time is what he said he needs most.

''I need time to build my strength and the velocity will come like that,'' Rogers said after a Brewers split squad beat the Colorado Rockies 7-5 on Sunday. ''I can tell you for a fact that it will be there. It's just a matter of getting there.''

Rogers, a first-round pick of the Brewers in 2004, started seven games in Milwaukee and, featuring a fastball in the low- to mid-90s, went 3-1 with a 3.92 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 39 innings.

But this spring has been a different story.

On March 12, Rogers made his third start and surrendered six runs - three earned - on three hits and four walks in 1 1/3 innings. After that outing, he was pulled from live action in favor of bullpen sessions in an effort to help him find his former speed and command.

Against the Rockies, Rogers allowed only two runs on two hits in three innings. But he also walked two, through barely half his pitches for strikes and topped out the radar gun at 89 mph.

Rogers struck out Tyler Colvin twice, tripling his strikeout total for the spring in the span of a turn through the lineup.

''That's not me, really,'' Rogers said. ''It's frustrating for me, but it's part of the game. Everyone has times when they don't feel like they have their best stuff.''

Complicating matters for both Rogers and the Brewers is the 27-year-old is out of minor league options, leaving Milwaukee the choice of relegating him to the bullpen or attempting to sneak him through waivers.

''The good thing is I've been with the Brewers for multiple years,'' Rogers said. ''They know I'll bust my butt and get back to being myself. I view myself as a starting pitcher. At some point, I want to be in the starting rotation.''

In theory, Rogers also could be placed on the disabled list though the pitcher himself has yet to complain of any specific injury.

''Are you healthy when you're throwing 89,'' said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. ''Something's wrong. It's not home. I'm still waiting for the `(throw it) by guys'.''

Rockies starter Juan Nicasio allowed two runs on seven hits in five innings. He walked two and struck out four.

Nicasio has given up only three runs on 10 hits in his past two outings spanning 10 innings after allowing seven runs over 6 2/3 innings in his previous two starts.

''I had trouble with my control, with a lot of pitches high in the zone,'' Nicasio said. ''I gave up a couple base hits on fastballs high. But I felt good.''

Ryan Braun went 1-for-2 with an RBI and Ben McMahan hit a two-run single during the Brewers' five-run sixth inning against Matt Belisle.

Charlie Blackmon doubled, scored, drove in a run and stole a base for the Rockies.

NOTES: Nicasio also had a pair of singles. . Brewers CF Carlos Gomez was scratched because of stiffness in his lower back caused, he said, by sleeping on too soft of a mattress. Roenicke said if this were the regular season Gomez would be in the lineup. . Veteran right-hander Jon Garland was at the Rockies' Scottsdale camp and will sign with the team pending his physical. Garland had spent the spring with the Mariners and posted a 2.25 ERA but exercised the opt-out in his minor-league contract to allow him to pursue a major-league deal. . The two teams were meeting for the first time since March 1 and open the regular season with a three-game series in Milwaukee beginning April 1.

Tagged: Brewers, Rockies, Matt Belisle, Mark Rogers

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