It’s been a long road this year for catcher Jonathan Lucroy. He hasn’t played a game since May 27th, sitting out with a broken hand he suffered at the expense of gravity and a fully-packed suitcase.
Last night, Lucroy donned his gear once again, only it wasn’t with the Brewers. It was with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, the first of his rehab stints before rejoining the team. An official date for his return is not set but Lucroy himself mentioned on Twitter that the last week of July, up until August 1st appears to be the goal.
The rehab schedule – if everything goes as planned – would have Lucroy back in the Brewers Blue by July 26th.
The Timber Rattlers lost 4-3 to the Great Lakes Loons, but Lucroy put in a decent – if not slightly rusty – performance. The catcher went 2-3 at the plate with a single and a double, and caught for five scoreless innings, though he did commit a throwing error.
Lucroy seemed pleased with his performance, considering the limitations on his game that comes from sitting out nearly two months.
"“It’s just a matter of getting my timing back really and getting good pitches to hit and putting good swings on the ball…I felt pretty good, a little rusty catching but other than that I felt pretty good at the plate. I think I missed some pitches that I usually feel pretty confident with just because I haven’t seen live pitching like that in about two months.”–Jonathan Lucroy, via Brew Crew Ball"
There’s no doubt that Milwaukee fans are keeping a close eye at the Timber Rattlers next three games, where Lucroy is slated to play out his rehab assignment before heading down to Nashville to join the AAA Sounds early next week. The Timber Rattlers are excited to have him for the weekend, as evidenced by the nearly full house of 4,126 fans that flowed through the gates at Fox Cities Stadium yesterday. It’s easy to understand, from a management and public relations perspective, why a hard-hitting Major League catcher is a bonus to your team, but Wisconsin pitcher Matt Miller – who was saddled with the loss after seven innings, seven hits, four runs and one earned run – added that Lucroy’s presence behind the plate was a big help to the young Brewers prospect.
"“He knows what he’s doing back there, I think I shook him once and that’s the last time I’ll do that. So it was great. He controlled the game and was everything you want in a big league catcher. And I felt more confident throwing what I was throwing.”–Pitcher Matt Miller on Lucroy, via"
[Ed.’s note: did anyone else think of Bull Durham when they read about Miller shaking off Lucroy?]
All in all, there is very little to be concerned about with Lucroy’s rehab back to the Brewers. He saw the ball pretty well, made solid contact, and he’s finding his groove behind the plate again in his first game back. There’s little reason to believe that Lucroy will have that much trouble in Appleton this weekend, but it’s a good opportunity to see whether or not his swing has taken any damage coming off the broken hand.
So far, all signs point to ‘no.’