Catcher determined to help Brewers' rebuilding phase
By Megan Zahneis
PHOENIX -- Jonathan Lucroy's seventh season as the Brewers' backstop figures to be a bit different than the six that preceded it.
Widely regarded as a leader on and off the field, Lucroy finds himself in a different situation: The Brewers are, by all accounts, in rebuilding mode.
In other words, Lucroy isn't expecting to be chasing a pennant anytime soon. While the position isn't enviable, Lucroy isn't approaching 2016 any differently than he did 2015, or 2014 before it. His mindset is a deceptively simple one.
"It's just about trying to get better," Lucroy said. "Year to year, your approach stays the same -- and that's just to win. Try to get better, try to help other guys get better, and just doing what you can to get a 'W' in the scorecard every day."
Still, adjusting expectations must be a bit difficult, right, Luc?
"When you place a lot of expectations on yourself -- I did last year, I know that personally -- you tend to not meet those expectations," Lucroy said. "So I think if you come out and you just keep working hard and focus on the process of working hard and doing the little stuff, hopefully those wins will add up. And if not, you gave it everything you had."
Lucroy has embraced his role as an elder statesman on a club populated by youngsters.
"I'm not gonna say I've seen it all, because I haven't, no one has," he said. "But I've been in some situations that are pretty unique, I've been in a lot of situations that are different, and I've learned a lot of lessons the hard way.
"I'm gonna try to use that knowledge to help other guys, help them get better, and help myself get better at the same time. Because that constant reminder of those things I've seen and been through and experienced, it helps you to get better."
He'll hesitate to call himself a leader, but there's no doubt Lucroy, 29, has valuable advice to impart on his younger teammates, a lot of it culled from his own ascent into the big leagues. Particularly challenging -- and rewarding -- is working with a dozen or more different pitchers.
"You've got to be a psychologist, almost, in knowing how to deal with them and get the best out of them," Lucroy said. "A lot of it deals with being positive, with being optimistic, and refocusing guys on the correct thing, just finding things that work for a guy to get him locked back in."
Megan Zahneis is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.