Jonathan Lucroy had never hit cleanup before being penciled in there against the Twins and Jason Marquis on Sunday. The Brewers might want to leave him there for a while.
Lucroy hit his third and fourth homers of the season and drove in a career-high seven runs as part of a 16-4 rout of Minnesota. His grand slam in the seventh was the first of his career.
The big game gave Lucroy the pretty remarkable total of 27 RBI in 37 games this season. He drove in a total of 26 runs in 75 games as a rookie in 2010, and he finished with 59 RBI in 136 games last year.
It also means two of the four seven-RBI days by major leaguers this season have come from National League catchers. Philadelphia’s Carlos Ruiz also knocked in seven runs against the Braves on May 2. Carlos Beltran and Josh Hamilton (eight RBI on his four-homer day) have also had seven-RBI games.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.
Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”
Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.
Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.