Brewers will miss Lucroy behind the plate

Brewers will miss Lucroy behind the plate

Brewers will miss Lucroy behind the plate
LOS ANGELES -- Jonathan Lucroy had been great at the plate, but the Brewers will miss their catcher behind the plate, too.

Lucroy will miss 4-6 weeks with a broken right hand, leaving George Kottaras and call-up Martin Maldonado to shoulder the catching load. Kottaras is dealing with a minor hamstring injury himself, so Maldonado made his first Major League start against the Dodgers on Tuesday.

"'Luc' has come such a long way," Brewers pitching coach Rick Kranitz said. "He was challenged a little bit last year because he missed Spring Training. He really had to learn on the fly, not having caught a few of our guys at all, plus learning the league. He was so much more comfortable [with] this team coming in, and taking charge a lot more."

Lucroy handled four of the five spots in the starting rotation, with Kottaras pairing with left-hander Randy Wolf. Now, duties will be split between Kottaras, a left-handed power hitter, and Maldonado, a right-handed-hitting defensive specialist.

Kranitz may be particularly active from the bench with Maldonado, who caught only three big-league innings in a brief debut last season.

"We've got to help him, yeah," Kranitz said. "There will be certain pitches, situations, where we take over, possibly. We'll see when we talk."

It helps that the Brewers have four experienced starters in Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke, Wolf and Shaun Marcum, and it also could help that Maldonado has handled the current fifth starter, Michael Fiers, for the last two seasons.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Kottaras was feeling better after gutting his way through Monday's game on a balky left hamstring. He felt cramping while running the bases on Sunday, and remains day-to-day.

"There's going to be more preparation because 'Luc' really prepared for this," Roenicke said. "He watched a lot of video, and he had the advantage of being with basically the same group from last year. He knows each pitcher and what they want to do in different counts, each situation. It's not always looking at the other side. It's more important to look at what your guys do well than pitching to the other side."