HOUSTON -- Double-A Huntsville Stars first baseman Hunter Morris has been named the Topps Southern League Player of the Month for June, an award voted upon by Southern League managers. Morris is the Stars' first position player to capture the honor since Mat Gamel was named Player of the Month for May of 2008.
A native of Huntsville who represented the Stars in both the Southern League All-Star Game and Home Run Derby, Morris led the circuit with seven home runs and 58 total bases in June. He also topped the league with 27 RBIs, which were tied for ninth in all of Minor League Baseball during the period.
After opening the month with a pair of singles against the Tennessee Smokies, Morris homered three times in his next four games against the Mississippi Braves to match his home run total for the season's first two months. The 23-year-old enjoyed a similar stretch toward the end of the month, clubbing three home runs in a four-game span June 25-28.
Morris drove in at least one run in 11 of his final 15 games in June, concluding the month ranked second in the Southern League with 57 RBIs -- just two behind Tennessee's Justin Bour. Through the end of June, Morris was leading the league with 26 doubles, 38 extra-base hits and 147 total bases. He is on pace to shatter his career highs of 29 doubles and 69 RBIs established last year in 126 games with the advanced Class A Brevard County Manatees and four games with the Stars.
Prior to being selected by the Brewers in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, Morris established a school record with 23 home runs in his junior season at Auburn. He also batted .386 with 76 RBIs that year en route to Southeastern Conference Player of the Year honors.
Lucroy continues to progress from hand surgery
HOUSTON -- Catcher Jonathan Lucroy continued to progress towards returning to the lineup after May 31 surgery on his broken right hand.
"It's feeling good," said Lucroy, who was hitting .345 for the season and .371 over the 10 games prior to the injury.
Lucroy took some "dry" swings before the game to see how it felt.
"I threw, too, and it felt pretty good," Lucroy added. "So hopefully we're making some progress."
He said an X-ray showed improvement in the hand.
"It went good," Lucroy said. "It's calcifying; it's starting to really heal up pretty good.
"So hopefully we can get that bone nice and solid here pretty soon so I can start some more baseball heavy activity."
Lucroy said he is shooting for a timetable that would bring him back to the lineup in mid- to late-July. "Obviously it's give or take a few days, depending on what the doctor says. But that's the goal and hopefully we can make that."
Ishikawa welcomes time off at All-Star break
HOUSTON -- The All-Star break comes as a welcomed respite for many during a long 162-game schedule. First baseman Travis Ishikawa is one of those who said he would enjoy the much-needed time off.
"It's been a tough year with the injuries and obviously I've had a tough season," said Ishikawa, who entered the Houston series hitting .167 over his last 10 games and .247 for the season.
"One day off is always nice but I think having a couple of days just to mentally get away from everything and I guess reset our minds and reset our focus and just come back ready and refreshed..."
Ishikawa said he had specific plans for the break.
"Going home to enjoy the family," he said.
Aoki continues to produce in top of lineup
HOUSTON -- Right fielder Norichika Aoki hit second in the lineup in Friday's series opener at Houston. But from either the leadoff spot or second in the batting order, Aoki has produced.
"I'd rather have him leading off, but the guy behind him is also important as to what he can do to help [Aoki]," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "Or is it more important to have that other guy getting on and then [Aoki] helping that guy?"
That's the dilemma that keeps Roenicke on his toes when making the decision where Aoki hits in the lineup.
"So that's why he's flipping back and forth," Roenicke said. "But basically he's out there every day and he's helping us whether he's hitting [first or second in the lineup]."
Aoki entered Friday's series opener on a 12-game hitting streak and extended it to 13 with a first-inning home run vs. the Astros.
Brewers sign three more Draft picks
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers have signed three additional players from the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, including RHP Damien Magnifico (5th Round), OF Edgardo Rivera (8th Round) and C Joe Andrade (undrafted).
Milwaukee has signed each of their first 16 selections. Overall, the Brewers have signed 34 players, which includes 30 drafted players and four non-drafted players.
Glenn Sattell is a contributor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.