Brewers catcher Lucroy breaks finger, needs surgery

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Jonathan Lucroy, who is slated to be the Brewers’ starting catcher this season, suffered a broken right pinkie finger during drills Wednesday and will miss an undisclosed amount of time.

Fortunately for the Brewers, the injury happened early enough to give Lucroy a shot at being ready for the regular season, and since the injury is to his throwing hand, rather than his glove hand, he should be able to get in some work with the team’s pitchers in bullpen sessions next month. It is important that he be on the same page with newcomers Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum.

Lucroy, who arrived in the majors last year with just 21 games of Triple-A experience under his belt, hit .253/.300/.329 in 277 at-bats as a rookie. He’s penciled in as the No. 8 hitter in Milwaukee’s lineup.

Lucroy’s backup last year was George Kottaras, but the Brewers brought in Wil Nieves over the winter, presumably to step into that role. If Lucroy starts off on the DL, then Kottaras and Nieves would likely share time behind the dish.

UPDATE: Lucroy will need surgery on the pinkie, according to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, and is expected to miss the next four weeks. His status for Opening Day is up in the air.

Mets invite Tim Tebow to spring training

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Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.

Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.

Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.