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.
Out since mid-April with a broken toe, Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy has been cleared to begin a minor-league rehab assignment Wednesday at Single-A.
Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Lucroy is scheduled to play four games there and then, barring a setback, rejoin the Brewers’ active roster Monday.
Lucroy was off to a slow start before the injury, but he’s been one of the best all-around catchers in baseball since 2012 and last season finished fourth in the MVP voting.
Martin Maldonado has served as Lucroy’s primary fill-in and Brewers catchers have combined to hit just .151 this season. Lucroy hit .301 with 13 homers and a league-leading 53 doubles last year.
With the firing of Ron Roenicke and the hiring of Craig Counsell, a couple of Brewers commentators observed yesterday that the club could be poised for “major changes,” which could easily mean “tear-down” and/or “fire sale.”
It makes sense. I mean, yes, there is a lot of talent on this club, but health woes and the hole they’re already in, not to mention thin pitching, suggests that one last gear-up-and-go with this roster is not likely to be successful. Doug Melvin will likely be dealing away talent this summer.
But if he does. there is one bit of talent Milwaukee won’t be dealing:
Understandable given that he’s locked up on a pretty team-friendly deal. Lucroy, 28, is making only $3 million this season and $4 million next year. There’s a $5.25 million club option for 2017. Just a great deal even if he doesn’t come close to repeating his 2014 numbers.
So, if you are interested in a Matt Garza or a Kyle Lohse, call Mr. Melvin. But save your calls if you’re looking for a catcher.
The Brewers have activated center fielder Carlos Gomez from the 15-day disabled list for today’s game against the Cubs. He’s batting leadoff in his return against right-hander Jake Arrieta.
Gomez has been out since April 15 due to a strained right hamstring and he has been missed in a big way. The Brewers went 3-12 during his absence and own the worst record in the majors at 5-18. While his return is welcome sight, Jonathan Lucroy and Scooter Gennett are both still on the disabled list and Aramis Ramirez is sitting out for a second straight day due to hamstring tightness.
The Brewers designated infielder Luis Jimenez for assignment in order to clear the way for Gomez’s return.
Milwaukee is off to an MLB-worst 2-13 start after collapsing in the second half last season, but Brewers owner Mark Attanasio insists manager Ron Roenicke’s job is safe.
Right now, my examinations are focused on how to improve our performance on the field. Relative to me, I’m not looking at the manager or the general manager right now.
I know how bad we’ve played. But we’re 14 games into the season, and Ron didn’t give up two grand slams [Tuesday]. I think we have to kind of parse through it. Everybody needs to be accountable, but we have to look at what people are responsible for, and then hold them accountable for what they’re responsible for.
Injuries have hit the Brewers very had, especially with catcher Jonathan Lucroy and center fielder Carlos Gomez, but they’re now 13-38 in their last 51 games dating back to last season. That’s an amazing collapse considering they were 71-55 before all the losses started piling up.
It’s also worth noting that Attanasio exercised the 2016 option on Roenicke’s contract last month, removing the potential lame-duck status for a manager with a 337-326 (.508) record since taking over the job in 2011. Doug Melvin is one of the longest-tenured general managers in baseball, holding the job since 2003.