As expected the Brewers have activated Jonathan Lucroy from the disabled list after the All-Star catcher missed six weeks with a broken big toe.
Lucroy got off to a slow start before the injury and Milwaukee catchers (mostly Martin Maldonado) were terrible in his absence, so overall this season the position has produced a lowly .162 batting average with three homers and a .481 OPS in 51 games for the Brewers.
Last season Lucroy finished fourth in the MVP balloting, hitting .301 with 13 homers, a league-leading 53 doubles, and an .837 OPS in 153 games. Expect him play 4-5 times per week, with Maldonado seeing only fill-in action.
Marlins ace Jose Fernandez has been cleared to take a huge step in his comeback from Tommy John elbow surgery, beginning a minor-league rehab assignment Saturday at Single-A.
Fernandez has been pitching in extended spring training, with no setbacks and positive reports on his progress that includes mid-90s fastball velocity. For now the targeted return date to the Marlins is July 1, which would be about 13 months after the elbow surgery.
Fernandez was brilliant before the injury, starting 36 games with a 2.25 ERA and 257 strikeouts in 224 innings through age 21 to immediately emerge as one of the truly elite pitchers in baseball.
Two days after an MRI exam revealed no structural damage in his sore shoulder A’s left-hander Scott Kazmir took the mound Sunday for a 30-pitch bullpen session.
Kazmir told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle: “It was a little bit of relief how great everything felt after just a couple of days of rest.”
Kazmir exited last Wednesday’s start with shoulder soreness, but insisted all along that he thought it was a minor issue and the A’s avoided placing him on the disabled list in the hopes he could be fine with just one skipped turn in the rotation.
There’s no word yet on when the A’s expect him to start again, but Slusser speculates that Friday against the Red Sox could make sense. Kazmir has a 3.40 ERA in 42 starts since signing with the A’s last offseason, including a 2.93 ERA in 10 starts this year.