Rookie Lucroy Catches On With Brewers





MILWAUKEE—Catcher Jonathan Lucroy learned responsibility at a young age. His father insisted on it.

"He'd make an example of me," said Lucroy, whose father Steve was his Little League coach. "Another kid would mess up and he'd pull me out and punish me.

"He explained to me later why he did it. He wanted me to understand that just because he was my dad, he wasn't going to treat me any different. No special favors."

That experience helps explain why Lucroy, 24, has handled the challenges thrown his way this season as a rookie catcher for the Brewers. He was hitting .265/.301/.348 with two home runs in 155 at-bats.

Lucroy's season began with a 10-game tune-up with Double-A Huntsville before a promotion to Triple-A Nashville, where he spent 21 games.

Despite a tepid .238/.265/.363 batting line with the Sounds, Lucroy assumed regular duty when the Brewers lost Gregg Zaun in mid-May with a shoulder injury. Lucroy eased into a backup role behind George Kottaras, who had all of 98 big league at-bats entering 2010.

However, Lucroy quickly took over as No. 1 catcher because of superior defensive chops and throwing accuracy.

"It was trial by fire," said Lucroy, a third-round pick in 2007 out of Louisiana-Lafayette. "That's OK. I totally understood it and accepted it. Just playing the game is something that has come, not easily, but I've been able to handle it.

"You don't know until you come up and see what it's like, compete with everybody. I haven't been intimidated."

Though not always given much of a chance to throw out runners by the pitcher, Lucroy had nabbed 10 of 34 basestealers (29 percent) and had not allowed a passed ball through 41 games as he had steadily improved his blocking.

"We asked him to raise his tail a little bit to make it easier to go down," said coach Brad Fischer, who works with Brewers catchers.

"It has been exciting for me to watch. I realize how hard it is for a young catcher to break into the big leagues, learn to handle the pitching staff, learn the hitters from the opposing team and work with the pitching coach at this level."

MICROBREWS

• The Brewers recalled Lorenzo Cain on Aug. 6, installing him in center field after Carlos Gomez went on the disabled list with a concussion.

• The nightmare season continued for righthander Eric Arnett, the 26th pick in the 2009 draft. He was 0-9, 6.75 after 17 appearances for low Class A Wisconsin.