MLB notebook: Jonathan Lucroy to miss opening of spring training _lowres

FILE - In this Sept. 20, 2014, file photo, Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy prepares to take the field for a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh. All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy will miss four to six weeks of spring training for the Brewers because of a mild strain of his right hamstring. The team said that Lucroy was diagnosed with the injury by a team doctor on Monday, Feb. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

MILWAUKEE — All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy will miss four to six weeks of spring training for the Milwaukee Brewers because of a strained right hamstring.

The injury is near the top of Lucroy’s hamstring, close to the hip. Assistant general manager Gord Ash said Wednesday that area had given Lucroy a little trouble at the end of last season.

Lucroy, a former Loiuisiana-Lafayette standout, said in a phone interview that the hamstring started bothering him when he pulled up quickly while running hard into third base during a game in August.

He said he has been diagnosed with a partially torn tendon, though “it sounded worse” than it actually felt.

Lucroy was fine when he was examined on Jan. 26 in Milwaukee at the time of the team’s winter fan outreach event. The catcher said he aggravated the injury while sprinting recently in preparation for spring training.

Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report next week to the team’s spring training facility in Arizona. Ash is hopeful Lucroy will be ready for the April 6 opener against Colorado.

“One thing we wanted to make clear here, he can still throw, he can still hit,” Ash said. Lucroy will also get more work on the practice field at first base, as the Brewers had planned, though he may not get game experience in the spring.

Lucroy said that the plan is to not run, though he was hopeful to get into games at some point during spring training. He also is planning to catch in practice, given that he is already doing so now.

The injury doesn’t change the long-term plans to get the right-handed Lucroy as many as 30 games at first base, according to Ash. It’s a way to keep Lucroy’s bat in the lineup while limiting his workload behind the plate.

Lucroy wasn’t concerned the injury could affect how much time he will spend behind the plate or at first this year, given he had already played with the injury last year,

Left-handed hitting Adam Lind, acquired in the offseason from Toronto for pitcher Marco Estrada, is expected to be the regular first baseman in Milwaukee.

Lucroy started 133 games at catcher last year, hit .301 with 13 homers and 69 RBIs, and finished fourth in voting for the NL MVP award. He was one of the few regulars in an otherwise free-swinging lineup who was able to consistently work counts.

The team said that Lucroy’s agent told general manager Doug Melvin last weekend that the hamstring was bothering him. Lucroy was diagnosed with the injury by the team doctor on Monday. Another examination on Tuesday confirmed the extent of the injury.


Veras, Capps to join bullpen battle in spring: In Atlanta, the Atlanta Braves have signed two more veteran right-handed relievers to minor league deals, giving Jose Veras and Matt Capps a chance to audition for bullpen jobs in spring training.

The 34-year-old Veras combined for 21 saves with Houston and Detroit in 2013. But he lasted only 12 games with the Chicago Cubs last season before being released. He finished in Houston, going 4-0 with a 3.03 ERA in 34 games.

The 31-year-old Capps has 138 career saves, including a career-best 42 while splitting the 2010 season between Washington and Minnesota. He hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2012 because of shoulder problems.

Veras and Capps will contend for jobs with Jason Grilli and Jim Johnson, as well as another non-roster invitee with big league experience, Michael Kohn.


Reliever Blevins WINS in arbitration: In St. Petersburg, Florida, reliever Jerry Blevins has defeated the Washington Nationals in salary arbitration and will earn $2.4 million this year instead of the team’s $2.2 million.

Dan Brent, Robert Herzog and Jeanne Wood made the decision Wednesday, a day after hearing arguments.

Blevins spent his first seven big league seasons with Oakland and was traded to Washington in December 2013 for minor league outfielder Billy Burns. Blevins went 2-3 with a 4.87 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 57 1-3 innings last season over 64 appearances and made $1,675,000.

Players and teams have split six decisions. Fourteen cases remain scheduled through Feb. 20.


Clippard agrees sat $8.3M contract: In Oakland, right-hander Tyler Clippard and the Oakland Athletics avoided salary arbitration when they agreed to an $8.3 million, one-year contract.

Clippard was 7-4 with a 2.18 ERA in 75 relief appearances last year for Washington, which traded him to Oakland on Jan. 14 for infielder Yunel Escobar.

A right-hander who turns 30 on Saturday, Clippard had asked $8.85 million and had been offered $7,775,000 when the sides exchanged proposed arbitration salaries last month. He made $5,875,000 last season.

He was Oakland’s last player in arbitration.