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.
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.
Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.
As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.
Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.
The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”