|Tsuyoku Takaku Bo-ru Tobase||強く高くボール飛ばせ||Launch the ball strong and high|
|Rettsu go- Roja-su||レッツゴーロジャース||Let’s Go, Rogers!|
|Sa- yuku zo sho-ri e susume susume susume||さぁ行くぞ勝利へ 進め進め進め||OK let’s go towards victory, advance advance advance|
|Roja-su! Roja-su!||ロジャース！ロジャース！||Rogers! Rogers!|
Jason Rogers was chosen in the 32nd round of the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. After playing a couple of seasons of Rookie League and Class A ball, he made it up to AA in 2013, hitting 22 home runs for the Huntsville Stars of the Southern League. He spent most of 2014 bouncing between AA and AAA teams, combining for 18 home runs and 82 RBIs. At the end of that season, he got his first call up to the top club. He spent more time in the majors in 2015 than he did in the minors, and got his first four home runs as well. Despite having a red-hot September (20-41 = .488 AVG), and creating buzz about getting the starter’s role at first in 2016, he actually got traded off to the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he spent most of his 1.5 seasons in the minors.
Hanshin officially announced Rogers’ signing on July 1, 2017. The club was apparently not satisfied with what Eric Campbell had to offer, and also were not pleased with the lack of power from Fumihito Haraguchi, who had started the year at first base. At first, the team had plans to bring Rogers along slowly, but due to a sudden injury to outfielder Yoshio Itoi, the void needed to be filled, and Rogers got called up on July 18. He started at first base and hit third that night. His first hit came in his 4th at bat, as he drove in two runs against Hiroshima Carp reliever Shota Nakazaki. Three days later, Rogers hit home runs in consecutive at bats against Yakult Swallows starter David Buchanan, and all pandamonium broke loose.
On July 23rd, Rogers became the 100th man in club history to bat 4th in the lineup. Fans started buying plush panda hats, holding up panda placards at games, and generally giving Rogers a lot of adoration. He responded by hitting his first home run ever at Koshien on July 26th. Unfortunately, August was a difficult month for Rogers on the field, and he was replaced at first by rookie Yusuke Ohyama at the start of September. Ultimately he would be farmed on September 10, but he took the demotion in stride, crushing farm pitching to the tune of a .500 average (9-for-18) over the next two weeks. He got called up again on September 23rd and crushed his fifth (and last) home run of his NPB career at Jingu Stadium (where he had previously hit 2). However, manager Tomoaki Kanemoto criticized Rogers’ hitting, saying he wasn’t “hitting with enough power for an import player.” Two days later, after going 1-for-6 over the remainder of the weekend, Rogers got farmed again.
Despite not being placed on the playoff roster, Rogers played out the season on the farm, even joining an exhibition game after the regular season was over. He kept a solid attitude despite being yanked and jerked around in and out of the lineup, to and from the farm. He was officially released on December 2.
Rogers Fitting in Just Fine (July 31, 2017)
Rogers Press Conference (July 7, 2017)
“Dame Gaijin” – Who’s to Blame? (July 4, 2017)
Hanshin Signs New Import Rogers (July 1, 2017)