Some medical updates from Brewers camp:
– Ron Roenicke confirmed that catcher Jonathan Lucroy could be ready for Opening Day if all goes according to plan in his recovery from a fractured right pinkie finger. A metal pin in Lucroy’s finger will come out on March 21, and Lucroy can begin hitting after that as the pain tolerates.
“He threw to bases [on Saturday] without the splint on, and was good,” Roenicke said. “So really it’s just going to be a matter of gripping a bat, trying to get the flexibility back in his finger. That’s going to take a while. But everything else is good. He’s catching bullpens so his legs will be in shape.”
– Right fielder Corey Hart has been making significant progress in the past few days in his recovery from a left rib-cage strain, Roenicke said. Hart played catch, took grounders in the outfield and did core strengthening exercises on Saturday without issue.
“They’re going to try to step it up a little bit and put more on him, and see where he is,” Roenicke said. “He’s coming along pretty good. … In a couple of days, they’re hoping he can swing.”
– Third baseman/utility man/hitting prospect Mat Gamel was scheduled to take live batting practice for the first time on Sunday in Minor League camp. If it goes well, he could do it again Monday before slotting into Cactus League games.
Gamel still has a chance to make the team, Roenicke said. But the fact he bats left-handed probably hurts his case — the Brewers already have Mark Kotsay, Craig Counsell and probably Chris Dickerson slated for bench duty — and it will be more difficult at this stage of spring for Gamel to demonstrate his defensive versatility because the regulars are playing deeper into games.
“I know he can hit,” Roenicke said. “It’s just a matter of how he fits on our club.”
– A trio of relievers are making good progress.
Reliever LaTroy Hawkins was “feeling great today” about his live patting practice on Saturday, Roenicke said, and will probably throw some simulated innings this week before debuting in a game. He’s coming back steadily from shoulder surgery.
Left-hander Mitch Stetter, who strained a muscle behind his shoulder early in camp, is scheduled to pitch Monday against the Giants after throwing a successful live batting practice session Friday.
Another left-hander Manny Parra, was very close to getting back on the mound, Roenicke said.