Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with what the team is calling a mild right hamstring strain.
Lucroy was fantastic last season, starting 133 games at catcher and hitting .301 with 13 homers, a league-leading 53 doubles, and an .837 OPS on the way to finishing fourth in the MVP balloting behind Clayton Kershaw, Giancarlo Stanton, and Andrew McCutchen.
Even missing the full six weeks would give Lucroy enough time to recover before Opening Day, but he’d be starting the season with basically zero spring training action and any setbacks in his rehab could lead to missed regular season games.
Martin Maldonado is the backup catcher and the Brewers liked him enough in that limited role to give him a two-year, $1.95 million deal in January, but he’s a 28-year-old career .225 hitter with a .651 OPS and logged just 126 plate appearances in 2014.
With his Astros trailing the Tigers 2-1, catcher Robinson Chirinos began his at-bat in the bottom of the ninth a triple shy of the cycle. He doubled in the second inning, singled in the fourth, and hit a solo homer in the seventh. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel both struck out, leaving the Astros’ fate in the hands of Chirinos against Joe Jiménez. After working the count to 2-1, Chirinos slapped an 85 MPH slider to the gap in right-center field. A diving Travis Demeritte could not come up with the ball, but center fielder Harold Castro fired the ball back in to Gordon Beckham, who then made a perfect throw to Dawel Lugo at third base. Chirinos was tagged out for the final out of the game. No triple, no cycle. The Astros lost 2-1.
Chirinos was attempting to become the first Astro to hit for the cycle since Brandon Barnes on July 19, 2013 against the Mariners.
The Astros entered Wednesday’s game as the largest favorite in 15 seasons, according to ESPN’s David Purdum. The Astros were -500 per Caesars Sportsbook. Other sportsbooks had them at -550. So the Tigers’ win was quite the upset.
Justin Verlander went the distance in the loss. The only blemishes on his line were solo homers to Ronny Rodríguez in the fifth and John Hicks in the ninth. They were the only hits he allowed while walking none and striking out 11.