Lucroy full-go, happy to be back with Crew

Starting catcher returns from six-week DL stint in opener vs. Cardinals

Lucroy full-go, happy to be back with Crew

ST. LOUIS -- Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy returned from the disabled list on Monday determined not to let the team's place in the standings dull the joy of playing baseball again.

The Brewers activated him from a six-week stint on the DL to start the series opener vs. the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, and optioned catcher Juan Centeno back to Triple-A Colorado Springs. Lucroy went 0-for-4 in Milwaukee's 1-0 win.

"Looking at it realistically, it's just a hard hole to get out of, but I'm not going to be rolling over and saying, 'Whatever,'" Lucroy said. "I'm going to continue to battle and fight, and a lot of the guys in here are going to do the same. The coaching staff is still going to work hard. We're all going to work hard. It's just a matter of, we have to keep plugging away. That's all you can do."

When a foul tip fractured Lucroy's left big toe during an April 20 loss to the Reds, the Brewers were on their way to falling to a Major League-worst 2-11. When he returned Monday afternoon, the Brewers were still a Major League-worst 17-34.

But his return nonetheless represented a boost, and was well-timed since Martin Maldonado caught all 17 innings of Sunday's marathon win over the D-backs.

"I know it's been a long six weeks for [Lucroy]," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "I think, just talking to him, that he enjoyed his four days of playing baseball [on a rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Brevard County], being a baseball player again. He enjoyed spending time with some of the younger players, and now he's back. He's full-go, and we're happy to have him back behind the plate and back in the lineup, for sure."

Lucroy returned to the two-hole, his usual spot in the batting order. He'd spent the previous four games with Brevard County, batting .250 while playing catcher and serving as the designated hitter.

The rehab assignment was brief but successful, Lucroy said.

"I saw a good mix of velocity. I saw some breaking stuff. I had very good at-bats, hit the ball hard, walked a couple of times and didn't strike out any," Lucroy said. "So I felt pretty good hitting. I caught good, no issues. I blocked, no issues. I threw down, no issues.

"I felt good enough to come back here. I feel like I can go up and compete at a very high level."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.