CHICAGO — Taylor Rogers admitted that he was thinking about his brother making his major-league debut.
How could he not? They’re identical twins, and Tyler, 28, has been toiling in the San Francisco Giants system since being selected in the 10th round of the 2013 draft out of Austin Peay University — the same same school Minnesota Twins reliever Ryne Harper attended.
“There’s guys that get called up, and they have a longer path than others,” said Taylor Rogers after closing out a 3-1 win over Lucas Giolito and the Chicago White Sox. “But they don’t have a brother…”
He paused briefly.
“…in the big leagues, and they don’t have people asking them why he’s not doing what his brother is doing and comparing him to his brother, which is not right for him.”
Taylor was selected by the Twins in the 11th round of the 2012 draft out of the University of Kentucky. Both brothers grew up in Littleton, Co., a suburb of Denver, the sons of firefighters. Taylor regularly wears a St. Paul Fire t-shirt before games, and has become the go-to reliever for Rocco Baldelli when he needs outs.
He’s considered Minnesota’s closer, but he’ll get six outs at a time and occasionally will be used in high-leverage situations earlier in games. But it’s taken him four big-league seasons to get to the point where he’s at today.
Tyler owns a 1.97 ERA in two Double-A seasons, and has been named to the Triple-A All Star game twice.
“We’re different,” said Rogers. “Just because we’re twins doesn’t mean we have to be compared to each other. We have different paths.”
Rogers said his brother’s call-up was a surprise. He was the first person to receive a call from him.
And with all this on his mind, he closed out a game the Twins needed to stay 3.5 games ahead of the Cleveland Indians. He was as unflappable as usual, a quality he possesses both on and off the field in an almost uncanny way.
“I’m not gonna lie to you, I was thinking about it out there, if he was gonna go in at the same time as me,” said Rogers, “You know how twins operate, a lot of times it’s like random stuff comes together, and you’re like, ‘Wow, only this would happen to the twins.’”
He said he walked into the clubhouse, checked the box score to see if his brother had been in the game. He hadn’t, so he went and showered, then saw his brother warming up when a foul ball was hit down the line.
He immediately changed all the TVs in the clubhouse to the game. His teammates quickly gathered to watch. Jake Cave was audibly living and dying with every pitch. Rocco Baldelli and bench coach Derek Shelton were beaming. It compounded the good feeling in the clubhouse after a big win.
“It was awesome,” he said after exiting a players’ only section of the visiting locker room where he was watching the game.
“Sorry. I think I was probably the most excited person on planet earth right there. Yeah.”
As the players were filling out, he was asked if he wanted to catch the first bus back to the hotel. He declined, opting to see if his brother would come out for another inning. He’d take an Uber home if he had to.