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Rogers continues to pursue his dream
02/25/2014 1:18 PM ET
Chad Rogers was 5-5 with a 4.22 ERA in his first Triple-A action in 2013. (Pat Pfister - pfoto.com)

You hear about shark attacks on the news, see them all of the time in movies and might even have bad dreams about them from time to time, but you probably rarely, if ever, experience them first-hand.

For Cincinnati Reds pitcher Chad Rogers, however, this wasn't the case.

Rogers, who was 20 years old at the time and had just been selected by the Reds in the 28th round of the June 2010 First-Year Player Draft, was surfing with a few friends off the coast of Galveston, Texas, on June 27, 2010 when this nightmare became a reality.

"I was surfing for about 30 minutes. I caught a wave and then paddled back out and was sitting on my board with my feet in the water," Rogers told Hal McCoy of Press Pros Magazine. "The next thing I knew I felt something hit my foot."

That "something" happened to be what Rogers described as a five-foot bull shark with a mouth full of needles. It clamped its teeth down on his right foot, leaving a gash that would require 60 stitches, and only let go when Rogers kicked it on the head.

After eventually paddling to shore and seeing the damage, Rogers said he saw his dream of playing professional baseball flash before his eyes - a dream that was supposed to begin the next day when he was scheduled to throw a bullpen for Reds scout Jerry Flowers.

Rogers and the Reds had been negotiating a signing bonus and the bullpen was intended to help in the process. That, however, was no longer possible - not at the time, at least.

"It was pretty blunt," Rogers told MLB.com when asked about the phone call he made to inform the Reds. "You really just call them and tell them I'm not going to be able to make that tryout tomorrow. I got bit by a shark."

Despite the setback, Rogers was determined to continue to pursue his dream of playing professional baseball, and he wasn't going to let a bull shark get in his way - made evident by his current Twitter handle: @SharkRogers.

About five weeks later, after spending time throwing with sandals on due to the swelling in his foot, Rogers called Flowers and rescheduled the bullpen for August 11 at the University of Houston.

"I still couldn't tie my shoe and I had all the laces just tucked into my cleats," Rogers said. "I kept it loose so I could throw. I threw a bullpen, they were impressed, and they signed me."

Just like that, his delayed dream was once again on its way to becoming a reality.

Rogers rehabbed for the remainder of the year. He returned to the mound in 2011 when he made 36 relief appearances and one start while posting a 6-4 record and a 2.99 ERA for the Class-A Dayton Dragons.

Since then, it's been nothing but progression for the right-handed pitcher who was once unsure about his career.

Rogers made the move from reliever to starter to began the 2012 season with the Class A-Advanced Bakersfield Blaze and posted a 6-4 record with a 3.15 ERA in 21 starts for the club. He was promoted to Pensacola with the Double-A Blue Wahoos at the season's end went 3-1 with a 1.99 ERA in six starts.

After participating in his first Reds Spring Training, Rogers remained in Pensacola for the first half of the 2013 season and posted a 3-2 record with a 2.20 ERA in 13 starts. In July, he was promoted to Louisville where he finished the season with a 5-5 record and a 4.22 ERA in an additional 12 starts with the Triple-A Bats.

Currently in his second consecutive big league camp, Rogers is expected to remain in Louisville for the 2014 season. However, with a productive season in Triple-A or an injury at the Major League level, it's not out of the question for the pitching prospect to make his MLB debut in the near future.

Luckily, whether Rogers winds up in Louisville or Cincinnati, there's neither waves to surf nor sharks to worry about in the waters of the Ohio River. 

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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