Susac with Crew to learn ropes of new club

Recently acquired catcher promoted with eye on next year

Susac with Crew to learn ropes of new club

MILWAUKEE -- Andrew Susac, the catcher acquired in last month's Will Smith trade and called up to Milwaukee on Tuesday, might not see much action behind the plate over the final month of the Major League season. But even if that's the case, manager Craig Counsell said, Susac's time in a Brewers uniform will be productive.

"I think one of the important things, and one of the tough things for catchers, is we put so much information on them," Counsell said. "Each club does it differently, and so there is a learning curve. It's helpful to get started. That's what this is. If we accomplish anything, we've started that process. That's important."

In order to get here, Susac first had to get healthy. Acquired with pitching prospect Phil Bickford in the Aug. 1 swap that sent Smith to San Francisco and removed Susac from the shadow of Giants star Buster Posey, Susac was so frustrated by a 5-for-40 start at Triple-A Colorado Springs that he took some extra swings in the batting cage one night after a game.

Susac suffered an oblique injury that sidelined him between Aug. 12 and Sept. 2.

"Probably wasn't the smartest thing to do," he said.

It was a race to get healthy in time to play for the SkySox in their season-ending series. Susac appeared in three games over the weekend before the promotion.

He arrived just before game time Tuesday, so Wednesday marked his first full day with the Brewers. Susac caught bullpen sessions for Chase Anderson, Taylor Jungmann and Damien Magnifico.

"I think every day up here is a showcase to show what you can do," Susac said. "I'm not ever going to go out there and play like it doesn't matter or mean anything. But right now my main concern is catching and getting ready to get used to these guys. That's the toughest part about being shifted around, is you're learning a whole new staff. You've got 13 bullpen guys and six starters, so it's a tough task, but I'm ready for it."

With Jonathan Lucroy traded to Texas on the same day the Brewers acquired Susac, Milwaukee's catching situation is uncertain for 2017. Martin Maldonado is finishing a two-year contract but has two arbitration years remaining. His primary backup since the Lucroy trade has been Manny Pina, who batted .329/.371/.506 at Colorado Springs and has proved capable in the Major Leagues. Susac is the only other catcher on the 40-man roster. He played in 87 regular-season games for San Francisco in 2014 and '15, and was on the Giants' roster all the way through their triumph in the 2014 World Series.

"I think [his callup] will make Spring Training a lot easier for him next year," Counsell said. "I feel like we can accomplish something no matter how many games we see him."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for since 2001. 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.