When word went out yesterday that The Gambler had been shut down for the season, I assumed there was a health issue. After all, he will be 44 in November.

But then I read this:

Leyland didn’t go into any specific reason to shut down the 43-year-old Rogers, although he did say that Rogers was fine physically.

My eyes narrowed in suspcion. The mental wheels turned. But I came up with nuthin’. So color me shocked today to read this:

Kenny Rogers said Tuesday it was his suggestion to come out of the rotation for the rest of the season so the Tigers could evaluate other starting pitchers.

“I told Skip (Jim Leyland) that I didn’t want him to feel like he had to start me anymore,” Rogers said. “I don’t want starts unless I’ve earned them, and the last thing I’m going to do is stand in the way of some development of a younger kid who needs a game or two that could give the information to Skip and the Tigers to have a better read on him.”

And actually, considering that his contract is up at the end of the season and that he’s given up 25 earned runs in 18 and two-thirds innings over his last four starts, he’s either ridiculously selfless—helping the ballclub at the expense of trying to re-establish any sort of free-agent value for himself—or completely demoralized and thinking of hanging up his spikes for good.

Or maybe both.

I’m still not sure what to think. Guys?

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