MARYVALE, ARIZONA -- Jonathon Lucroy is only 25-years-old, with one full season in the big leagues, but he is already one of the Milwaukee Brewers clubhouse leaders, particularly when it comes to telling it like it is. That frankness is revealed in his confidence, which falls short of arrogance.
"My dad always used to say to me when I was younger: 'you've gotta be necessarily arrogant,' and not arrogant as being a negative arrogant, but almost believing in yourself to a point where you think you're better than someone else. Not that kind of better, but when you're facing a pitcher, you are thinking 'okay, I'm going to get a hit off this guy' because I am better than he is," Lucroy said.
Lucroy is the clear number one back stop for the Brewers, but George Kottaras will get his games, and offers something with the bat. "You usually have either, you go one way. You have a defensive guy, or you have the offensive guy. If you had both, he'd probably be a starter. For George he's always been an offensive guy, but I think he did a nice job for us defensively," Brewers Manager Ron Roenicke said.
At the end of another Spring Training workout day in Brewers camp, the fields were quieting down, the clubbies were knocking the dirt off the shoes, the equipment guys were rolling out of the field, and most of the team members had gone -- and only at this time were the catchers starting to take off their gear. They start the earliest and work the longest, and it's the toughest position in camp, and probably the toughest in the game.
"When you are back there with gear and you've got a ball coming in at 100 miles-an-hour and you take one off the forearm, that kind of puts a damper on things, but it's something that I love to do, and I wake up every morning with a smile on my face," Kottaras said.
"It's tough. You don't think that catchers get concussions and some have trouble having kids and everything else. Why would I do that? I don't know. I guess I am stupid, but yeah, I don't understand it myself. If I have a son, he's definitely not going to be a catcher because it's a tough thing to do," Lucroy said.
The Brewers are glad Lucroy's dad never told him how it really is for a catcher.