3/24/2013 4:30 P.M. ET
Lucroy searching for comfort at plate
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, the team's hottest early-season hitter in 2012, has one week remaining to find that good feeling again.
"It's weird because I was locked in before I went to that [World Baseball Classic] tournament," Lucroy said. "I went on the Minor League side and I was crushing the ball, feeling great, seeing everything good. We did a couple of intrasquad games with Team USA and I was feeling good.
"Then I took like a week off, and it's amazing what that week can do. I'm trying to get that good feeling back."
Lucroy was a backup to Team USA catcher Joe Mauer and got only five at-bats in the Classic.
He was 3-for-14 in his first four Cactus League games since returning from the event, plus seven at-bats in a Minor League game on Friday.
"It's a matter of getting comfortable and slowing things down," Lucroy said. "Sometimes, all it takes is one at-bat."
Last spring, Lucroy signed a five-year contract extension and responded by batting .345 with five home runs and 30 RBIs in his first 43 regular season games before suffering a broken right hand and going on the disabled list.
At the time he got hurt, Lucroy was the Brewers' No. 2 run-producer behind Ryan Braun, and baseball's best hitter with runners in scoring position at .514 (18-for-35), including .600 (12-for-20) with runners in scoring position and two outs. He had jumped from eighth to fifth in the Brewers' batting order, even hitting fourth in two games.
With Corey Hart still recovering from knee surgery, Lucroy is expected to bat fifth to begin this season.
Schafer isn't taking roster spot for granted
PHOENIX -- Logan Schafer, 26 and looking at his first Opening Day roster, isn't taking anything for granted.
"They haven't said anything to me and I totally understand that," Schafer said before Sunday's matchup with the Padres. "You never know when a trade can happen. The way I look at it is I have four days of baseball left and we'll see what happens. I'm trying to make a flight to Milwaukee."
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Saturday what has been clear since the start of Spring Training: Schafer will make the team as the fourth outfielder. That sort of pronouncement was rare for this time of year, when club officials like to keep their options open for last-minute roster moves.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, Schafer will be on that fight. He entered Sunday batting .280 with a .333 on-base percentage in 50 at-bats, tied with fellow outfielder Caleb Gindl for tops on the team. Schafer, a terrific defender, has appeared at all three outfield positions.
"I've gotten a ton of at-bats, which is great in terms of exposure and just getting ready for the season," said Schafer, who knows that will change at the start of the season as he transitions to a bench role. "I'm just going to try to get on base. On the bench, you have to stay with one approach, and that's what I'm working on. If you get a pitch you're looking for, you don't miss it."
Making the Opening Day roster, Schafer said, "Would mean everything. I've been up for two Septembers now, and that was amazing because both Septembers we were all playing for something. It was really fun. But to be able to be up in April, if that happens it would be an unbelievable feeling. Hopefully, I'll have that feeling."
Brewers cautious with speedster Gomez
PHOENIX -- Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez remained sidelined Sunday by back stiffness caused by a soft mattress at his Spring Training residence.
He has been sleeping on the floor and seeing improvement, manager Ron Roenicke said, and Dr. William Raasch was not particularly concerned after examining Gomez on Sunday morning. If Gomez still cannot play in Monday's game against the A's, he could see a number of at-bats in Minor League camp on Tuesday's off-day.
"It doesn't seem to bother him swinging, so that would probably be a good idea," Roenicke said. "It's more the bending over and arching back."
• Right-handed reliever Jairo Asencio, who had trouble acquiring a work visa in the Dominican Republic, finally made his Brewers debut on Sunday. He has a big arm but has found trouble in his career, having been suspended in 2010 after an investigation revealed he signed with the Braves under a false name -- Luis Valdez. In January, Asencio was kicked off his Dominican Winter League team for what the club described in a statement as attitude issues.
Asencio made 30 appearances last season for the Indians and Cubs, positing a 3.07 ERA in 12 games with Chicago. In 2011 at Triple-A Gwinnett, a Braves affiliate, he led the league with 26 saves.
• Roenicke has been encouraged by third baseman Aramis Ramirez's at-bats since the veteran returned from a knee injury. Ramirez has asked to play most of the Brewers' remaining exhibition games.
"I just don't mean the results -- the ball is coming off his bat better," Roenicke said. "He's seeing the ball better, he's having better at-bats, and I'm hoping that will continue on into the season."
• The Brewers borrowed a total of 28 players from Minor League camp for Sunday's split-squad games against the Rockies and Padres, including outfielder Rene Tosoni, whom Roenicke mentioned as particularly impressive in his appearances this spring. The team discussed calling over outfielder Victor Roache, one of Milwaukee's first round Draft picks last year, but he has been dealing with a hamstring strain, Roenicke said.