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MLB Team Report - Milwaukee Brewers - INSIDE PITCH
PHOENIX -- To the Brewers, making the All-Star Game should be the least of Jonathan Lucroy's rewards this season.
"Not only has Luke been our best player and MVP to this point, I think he should be in the conversation for MVP in the league," said right fielder Ryan Braun, who knows something about the qualifications after winning the award in 2011.
Lucroy is second in the National League with a .341 batting average after singling in two at-bats while hitting third in the order Wednesday. He has 25 doubles, eight home runs and 37 RBIs, and the Diamondbacks were smart enough to walk him twice in their 4-3 victory. Lucroy had two homers, including a game-winning grand slam, in their 7-5 victory Tuesday.
"You look at what he does behind the plate and what he does in the batter's box and you compare him to other catchers. He's an All-Star. Absolutely," manager Ron Roenicke said.
Lucroy has worked hard on his defensive skills and his throwing, Roenicke said, and he has thrown out 24 percent of the runners attempting to steal this season, about the major league average.
"He's worked hard this spring on blocking balls," Roenicke said. "The last two springs he had injuries where he wasn't able to do that. He worked on his throwing. That's better. This guy is a worker. He works to get better."
It is a time-and-effort position, and Roenicke sees Lucroy gathering and applying all the necessary details.
"You look at how hard catching is at this level," the manager said. "You're trying to figure out the lineups that you are facing, the opposing team. You are trying to figure out all the pitchers on your staff, which he has to control every game, and then be able to call those pitches matching up against their lineups.
"It's really hard to do. He really works hard at that. He's watching video all the time and he has his notes that he keeps with him."
MLB Team Report - Milwaukee Brewers - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Lost one
NEXT: Brewers (RHP Yovani Gallardo, 4-4, 3.51 ERA) at Diamondbacks (RHP Chase Anderson, 5-1, 3.21 ERA)
--RHP Matt Garza made his 10th quality start of the season, although it did not get him a victory. Garza gave up seven hits and three runs (two earned) in 7 2/3 innings before leaving with the go-ahead run on second base in a 3-3 tie. He gave up two runs in the first inning, a leadoff triple to RF Gerardo Parra being the only well-struck ball. "I am feeling good," Garza said. "I am not going to say anything else besides I am feeling good. I kept on making pitches. There were ground balls and ground balls, that's it. Some fluke plays and that's all there was." Garza is 3-1 in his last nine starts.
--CF Carlos Gomez was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run in his return to the lineup Wednesday after missing the first two games of the Arizona series with a sore left hamstring. "I don't want to say he's 100 percent, but he's good," manager Ron Roenicke said. "He definitely wanted to play." Gomez's singled in the fourth inning extending his hitting streak to 14 games, tying a career high. He has reached base by hit, walk or hit batsman in 31 straight games, the longest active streak in the majors.
--2B Rickie Weeks returned to the starting lineup when the D-backs started LHP Wade Miley on Wednesday. Weeks is hitting .250, with both of his home runs and eight of his 13 RBIs, against lefties this season. He was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts Wednesday. He also made a throwing error that led to an unearned run in the first inning and made another bad throw when he was unable to turn an inning-ending double play. He was not charged with an error on that play because the Brewers got one out.
--RHP Yovani Gallardo, who will start the final game of the four-game series against Arizona on Thursday, probably wears snakeskin boots. Gallardo is 6-0 with a 1.93 ERA in nine regular-season starts against the D-backs, and he beat them in Game 1 of the 2011 NLDS in Milwaukee. Gallardo is 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA in five starts at Chase Field. He has made 10 quality starts this season.
--LHP Will Smith has retired seven of the eight batters he has faced in three appearances in the Arizona series. Smith struck out Arizona C Miguel Montero with the tying run on base in the eighth inning Wednesday and has struck Montero out all three times he has faced him in this series. D-backs left-handed hitters are 0-for-4 against him.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Not only has Luke been our best player and MVP to this point, I think he should be in the conversation for MVP in the league." -- RF Ryan Braun, on C Jonathan Lucroy.
MLB Team Report - Milwaukee Brewers - ROSTER REPORT
--CF Carlos Gomez (sore left hamstring) did not play June 16-17 but returned to the lineup June 18.
--RHP Tyler Thornburg (right elbow tightness) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 7. He underwent an MRI exam June 10 that showed no structural damage. He was diagnosed with irritation along his right wrist and flexor. On June 13, he began a throwing program at the Brewers' spring training facility in Phoenix.
--RHP Jim Henderson (right shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list May 2. He threw a 25-pitch bullpen session May 18. He began a rehab assignment with Double-A Huntsville on May 23. However, he experienced discomfort during that game, so he was pulled off his rehab assignment. He received a cortisone shot May 27 and began plyometric exercises June 6. As of mid-June, he was rehabbing in Arizona, but he was not throwing off a mound.
RHP Yovani Gallardo
RHP Kyle Lohse
RHP Matt Garza
RHP Marco Estrada
RHP Wily Peralta
RHP Francisco Rodriguez (closer)
LHP Will Smith
LHP Zach Duke
LHP Wei-Chung Wang
RHP Brandon Kintzler
RHP Rob Wooten
RHP Mike Fiers
LHP Tom Gorzelanny
1B Lyle Overbay
2B Scooter Gennett
SS Jean Segura
3B Aramis Ramirez
INF Mark Reynolds
INF Rickie Weeks
LF Khris Davis
CF Carlos Gomez
RF Ryan Braun
INF/OF Elian Herrera