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In 'tough times,' Lucroy tries to be positive presence

Brewers catcher remains with team during rehab

MILWAUKEE -- Rather than leave him home to continue getting treatment for a broken toe, the Brewers are bringing injured catcher Jonathan Lucroy on the road, where he will remain engaged in meetings with the other catchers and pitchers.

Lucroy is sidelined 4-6 weeks. Often, players on that sort of timetable remain home so the team's athletic trainers can focus their energy on the active roster, but Lucroy, because of his standing on a team stuck in a terrible season-opening slump, was apparently deemed a different case. The team was scheduled to depart Sunday night for a weeklong trip to Cincinnati and Chicago, and Lucroy was granted permission to travel in seatpants that cover the walking boot on his left foot.

"My toe may be broken," he said, "but I'm still there mentally."

Personal frustration about his own slow start -- Lucroy batted .133 with one RBI in 12 games before getting hurt -- has morphed into concern about the team's continued struggles. Lucroy has tried to contribute where he can, mostly by remaining positive in the clubhouse as players begin to ponder what sort of personnel changes lie ahead. The Brewers entered Sunday with a Major League-worst 3-15 record, three fewer wins than any other team.

"You're sitting there watching and you can't do anything about it. That's the worst part," Lucroy said. "This is a pretty big hole we're in, but we have to find a way to keep battling and fighting. I try to put these times in terms of life in general, and you're going to hit things in life that are tough times. Everybody is good in good times, but it's about how you react in tough times. That's the true measure of a man."

The Brewers fell 10 games behind the National League Central-leading Cardinals with a loss on Saturday night, and Lucroy himself admitted wondering what is to come. General manager Doug Melvin earlier in the week raised the idea of what he termed a "reset," suggesting that if the Brewers do not start winning games in bunches, they will have to consider trading away established players for prospects.

"I have thought about it," Lucroy said. "Baseball is a business, and there are times you have to reset and start over, like Doug said. You've got guys like myself and [Matt] Garza and [Ryan] Braun that are here for a little bit longer than others, but some of the other guys who aren't [signed] for as long, there could be a way to get some people in return. That's the nature of the game."

Lucroy is signed through 2016 with an affordable club option for 2017. Does he think he could wind up on the trading block, too?

"Possibly," he said. "I think a lot of it is going to depend on how I come back from this [injury], which is just a broken toe, so no big deal. If I come back out of the gate hot and we're still struggling, who knows?"

In other Brewers injury news, second baseman Scooter Gennett began swinging a bat Sunday for the first time since suffering a laceration on top of his right hand one week earlier. Gennett will have his stitches removed this week, Roenicke said.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy.
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