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Rogers takes bullpen demotion in stride

Rogers takes bullpen demotion in stride

TORONTO -- Like he has all season, Esmil Rogers took his demotion to the bullpen in stride.

"I'm glad I had the opportunity to start. Now, I'm back to the bullpen and I have to be ready every day," Rogers said. "Back to my routine. I'm not going to change my routine. I'm going to be the same person, the same guy every day to the stadium.

"Any opportunity they give me, I'm going to take it. Doesn't matter if it's the bullpen. I just want to be here. … I want to be in the big leagues. I want to be here and help the team win."

Rogers was moved to the bullpen after a string of tough outings, and he was replaced by Todd Redmond, who is scheduled to start in his place in Tuesday's series opener against the Red Sox at Rogers Centre.

The Blue Jays right-hander was moved to the starting rotation in late May when the club was beset by injuries. After an excellent beginning that saw Rogers post a 4-1 record with a 2.18 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 33 innings, things began to unravel.

Over his last seven starts, Rogers is 0-4 with an 8.50 ERA and a 1.97 WHIP, allowing 20 earned runs in his last 12 1/3 innings.

"He wasn't throwing enough strikes," manager John Gibbons said.

It's a lesson that the 27-year-old Rogers quickly took to heart.

"You have to make your pitches. That's the only thing you can learn from starting," Rogers said. "If you don't make your pitches, you pay. Everybody in this league can hit. It doesn't matter if you throw 100 mph. If you leave the ball right in the middle of the plate, everyone's going to hit that. That's what happened to me my last three starts. I'll just try to work on that, and go back to the bullpen and worry about making pitches."

Rogers refused to blame any of his recent woes on fatigue, but he did admit he'll make one change when he returns to the bullpen.

After reincorporating a changeup to go with his fastball-slider-curveball combination as a starter, the right-hander said he'll "forget" the changeup a little bit and focus on primarily using his other pitches.

Redmond will become the main benefactor of the move, at least temporarily. The 28-year-old made five starts with the club recently, but he was sent to the Minors after his Aug. 2 start against the Angels to make room for J.A. Happ.

As a starter, Redmond is 1-0 with a 4.44 ERA, a 1.23 WHIP and 31 strikeouts over 24 1/3 innings.

"We like what Redmond's been doing," Gibbons said. "Take care of [Rogers] and give somebody else a shot."

Evan Peaslee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @EvanPeaslee. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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