Lucroy injures hamstring, will miss 4-6 weeks

Brewers catcher should be ready for Opening Day, but will lose Spring Training at-bats

Lucroy injures hamstring, will miss 4-6 weeks

MILWAUKEE -- The return of a right hamstring injury that bothered him late last year will sideline Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy for four to six weeks of Spring Training, but the All-Star expressed optimism Wednesday that the issue won't bleed into the regular season.

"Now that we know exactly what it is," Lucroy said, "if I properly rehab it and work hard, there's no reason why I won't be in there on Opening Day. There's no reason to panic."

Lucroy was in Milwaukee on Monday for an examination by Brewers head physician William Raasch, who diagnosed a "mild" strain -- more technically, according to Lucroy, a slight tear to the hamstring tendon at the top of his right leg. He traveled to Miami on Tuesday for a second opinion from Marlins medical director Dr. Lee Kaplan, who confirmed the diagnosis and administered a platelet-rich plasma injection to the site aimed at speeding Lucroy's recovery.

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The issue probably dates to last August, when Lucroy abruptly "put on the brakes" at third base and felt pain in the upper part of his right leg. After a period of rest following the season, the Brewers prescribed physical therapy, and when Lucroy visited Milwaukee late last month for the team's "On Deck" event, he was feeling fine.

But, in a running drill immediately after that event, discomfort returned. Lucroy underwent an MRI scan, while his agent contacted the team and set into motion this week's examinations with Raasch and Kaplan.

"If there's a 'good' thing in this, it's that I was able to play through it in September," Lucroy said. "We're going to be careful with the running, but I can still hit, throw, catch. Both doctors said they believe it would take a lot to tear this tendon all the way off the bone. They don't think that will happen."

Lucroy injures right hamstring

Even at the more conservative end of his prognosis, Lucroy should be able to play by the time the Brewers open the regular season April 6 against the Rockies. But it will limit his participation in Spring Training games, which is notable since Lucroy was to see additional time at first base to prepare as a potential platoon partner for new first baseman Adam Lind. Lucroy started 16 games at the position in 2013, a figure that could double if the plan goes through.

"One thing we want to be clear here is he can still continue to do some things," Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash said, indicating that Lucroy still could work at the position in a practice setting. "This is not a total shutdown. This is common sense, be careful."

Last year, Lucroy finished fourth in National League Most Valuable Player balloting, led the league with 53 doubles while batting .301, broke Ivan Rodriguez's Major League record for doubles by a catcher, and became the first Brewers catcher to start an All-Star Game.

The Brewers have a quality backup catcher in defensive-minded Martin Maldonado, who signed a two-year contract last month. The other catcher on the 40-man roster is Juan Centeno, who briefly appeared in the big leagues with the Mets in 2013 and 2014 before the Brewers claimed him off waivers in October.

Brewers pitchers and catchers report to camp Feb. 20. The first full-squad workout is scheduled for Feb. 26.

"This is not great news. We can't pretend that this is good news," Ash said of Lucroy. "But given that this is Feb. 11, we do have time."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.