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Orioles rookie left-hander Josh Rogers playing it fast and loose

Orioles pitcher Josh Rogers throws his bullpen session as cameras are used to record his pitching mechanics.
Orioles pitcher Josh Rogers throws his bullpen session as cameras are used to record his pitching mechanics. (Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun)

if everyone in the major leagues pitched like Orioles rookie Josh Rogers, there wouldn’t be an experimental pitch clock behind center field in each spring ballpark and Major League Baseball wouldn’t have to obsess about the length of games.

Rogers, 24, works so fast that it was all manager Brandon Hyde wanted to talk about after he threw two perfect innings against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday.

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“The tempo is unbelievable,” Hyde said. “He gets the ball, gets on the rubber and goes. Probably has had the quickest innings of anybody this spring."

This is nothing new. Rogers drove opposing to distraction in college when he pitched at Louisville. He even got under his college pitching coach’s skin with his hurry-up approach.

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Orioles right-hander Nathan Karns said he has a bullpen Saturday and his arm didn't recover as fast as he wanted, causing his start to be scratched Friday.

“We kind had to head-butt a little bit about it because he would call the pitches and I would be like ‘ready to go, ready to go,’ ” Rogers said. “As soon as I got to pro ball it was something that I just established right off the bat, like, ‘Hey, I’m going to get the ball and get on the rubber and throw it. Just make a quality pitch and we’ll see what happens.’ ”

Rogers made quite a few of them against the six Rays he faced, all of whom put the ball in play.

“I’m feeling pretty good,’’ the left-hander said. “My strikeouts probably aren’t where everybody probably wants them to be, but my main focus is just attacking hitters aggressively and getting the team back in the dugout to hit as quickly as possible and just to be as efficient as possible.”

Of course, the trick isn’t throwing the ball quickly. It’s throwing quality pitches at that accelerated pace. And while the quick tempo seems to come naturally to Rogers, he said that hasn’t always been the case.

“I don’t think it’s something you can just get up there and do,’’ he said. “I’ve kind of taught myself to do it in a way, but in a controlled way and an efficient way, to use my body and take the time that I need to when things kind of go off the rails a little bit. I can just as easily give up four runs as fast as I can get three outs.

“So sometimes you have to slow it down a little bit. With the learning curve I’ve had, I can draw it back at some point to make a pitch when I need to.”

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