The Milwaukee Brewers suffered a significant setback this spring before it even officially started when Jonathan Lucroy injured his hamstring a little less than a month ago. The timetable for Luc’s return was between four and six weeks, and it appears as though the Brewers’ All-Star catcher is running right on schedule in his rehab process.
The Brewers are cautiously optimistic in how the injury has been progressing, with Ron Roenicke hoping to get his catcher in to see some live pitching this week. “I think there’s a pretty good chance,” Roenicke said. “We talked to the minor-league side to see what they have going on, and they’ve got some simulated games or BP starting the 11th.” Lucroy would be able to get up to five at bats per day in minor league camp, which would help expedite the process of bringing his bat up to speed after missing the start of camp.
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Lucroy, to his credit, is confident in his quick return. With early estimates pegging him to return with about a week left in camp, Luc assured the media on Friday that he believes he will be back in action much sooner than that. After hitting .301/.373/.465 last season and finishing fourth in MVP voting after a 6.7 WAR campaign in 2014, the Brewers will be counting heavily on Lucroy to be a major contributor again this season.
Last week, we also found out that Adam Lind was also battling some injury issues, as his troublesome back had flared up taking grounders in practice. Lind has spent time on the DL with back related issues in three of the last four seasons, so any issues are cause for concern. “It’s exactly the same (as in the past),” Lind said. “It’s part of me. I never know when it’s going to pop up. That’s kind of the problem with the whole thing. I didn’t really show any symptoms before it happened. It just kind of got tight through the course of a day.” Fortunately, it appears the Brewers’ new first baseman is on the mend, as well. Lind expressed that he is glad this issue crept up in the first week of camp rather than the last, and is hopeful that it’s just his body “getting back into baseball shape.” The Brewers hope to have Lind back on the field within the next couple of days. With OPS+ marks of 132 and 141 over the last two seasons, the Brewers are looking to Lind to shore up what has been a two-year black hole at first base.
The Brewers have dropped their first four Cactus League games after defeating UW-Milwaukee in their exhibition opener, and poor defense is partly to blame. The Brewers have committed nine errors, including a dropped fly ball by Gerardo Parra in the outfield yesterday against the Dodgers. These defensive miscues have lead to six unearned runs scored by Brewers’ opponents so far this spring. The Brewers tied for ninth in the MLB in total defense last season according to Fangraphs, and it’s still very early on in the spring, so it’s likely these issues could be the team still working to knock the winter rust off their gloves. Defense will definitely be something to keep an eye on as the season draws closer, at least.
The 0-4 Brewers will take on the 5-0 Royals this afternoon, with first pitch coming at 3:05 CST. Jimmy Nelson will be making his Cactus League debut for the Cactus Crew after being delayed a few days with a minor hamstring issue. Jason Vargas will be taking the mound for Kansas City. You can listen to the broadcast live for free through the Gameday on Brewers.com.