Optimistic Lucroy right on schedule with rehab

Brewers catcher increasing running, fielding ground balls at 1B; may see live pitching next week

Optimistic Lucroy right on schedule with rehab

PHOENIX -- It appears increasingly likely that Brewers MVP Jonathan Lucroy will fall well within his projected 4-to-6 week comeback from a right hamstring strain.

Lucroy, who underwent a platelet-rich plasma injection on Feb. 9 to help speed healing, offered an optimistic progress report on Friday, saying he was ramping up his running and taking ground balls at first base, where he could see action this season in addition to regular duties at catcher. Manager Ron Roenicke expects Lucroy to begin seeing live pitching by the middle of next week, followed by controlled participation in Minor League games.

"I don't know when they'll have him run full-out, but he's doing pretty good in his running," Roenicke said. "The way I look at it on the schedule, we've got a lot of games left once he's playing. I think we'll be OK with it."

The Brewers have a capable backup in Martin Maldonado, but expect Lucroy to be ready well in advance of Opening Day. Lucroy has painted his setback as a positive, saying he might wind up compiling more at-bats than he would in a healthy spring, because he can bat in multiple innings in Minor League games.

"There's no concern for me. None at all," he said. "It actually might be a blessing in disguise, because I plan on catching a lot this year."

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.