The Milwaukee Brewers have announced their first major injury news (via Twitter) of the 2015 season, as Jonathan Lucroy has been diagnosed with a mild strain of his right hamstring. Lucroy is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with the injury.
Lucroy enjoyed a breakout season last year, hitting .301/.373/.465 with 13 home runs and 53 doubles in 655 plate appearances. He broke the MLB record for doubles by a catcher (previously held by Pudge Rodriguez) and tied the Brewers franchise mark. Lucroy’s 6.6 WAR ranked third among NL position players in 2014, and he finished fourth in MVP voting.
A healthy Lucroy will be key for the 2015 Championship Season for the Milwaukee Brewers. We recently projected Lucroy as posting a WAR value over 5 for this coming season, and while Martin Maldonado is a capable backup, he doesn’t bring anywhere near the amount of offense Lucroy can provide.
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Fortunately for the Brewers and Lucroy, even a conservative estimate of 6 weeks of recovery time still puts him on pace to be ready for Opening Day. Adam McCalvy tweeted that Lucroy’s hamstring first bothered him last August, and that the injury flared up again a couple of weeks ago while running. Lucroy has apparently received a PRP injection to speed up the healing process, and Lucroy himself stated that there is “no reason to panic.”
"If I properly rehab it and work hard, there’s no reason why I won’t be in there on Opening Day."
The Brewers haven’t made a significant addition to the starting rotation, meaning there isn’t added pressure for Lucroy to try and get on the same page with a new pitcher during Spring Training. For those concerned about Lucroy’s ability to practice at first base (where he is slated to be in a sort of platoon with Adam Lind), Assistant GM Gord Ash indicated that Lucroy will not be totally shut down. Lucroy is still expected to be able to participate in fielding drills and get some work in at first base, but will be unable to participate in any kind of running until the injury heals.
Beyond Lucroy and Maldonado, the Brewers have only waiver claim Juan Centeno on the 40 man roster. The Brewers will have minor leaguers like Nevin Ashley and Adam Weisenburger in camp as well to absorb the playing time that Lucroy will miss. We can at least be thankful that this injury happened now, rather than missing Lucroy missing 4-6 weeks in the middle of the season. It is imperative that Lucroy comes back fully healthy, however. If the injury continues to flair up during the season and causes Lucroy to miss time, it drastically reduces the chances the team has at making the playoffs. Still, both the team and Lucroy are confident that he will be behind the plate and ready for April 6th, so we should be as well.