6/12/2014 8:17 P.M. ET
Lucroy racking up doubles, 'locked in' at plate
By Tim Healey / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- How good has Jonathan Lucroy been lately? Good enough to worry about his personal safety.
With 25 doubles through about 40 percent of the season, Lucroy is on pace for 61, which would surpass the club record of 53 set in 2004 by Lyle Overbay, who is just a couple of lockers away from the Milwaukee catcher.
"I've been watching over my shoulder making sure he doesn't try to take me out or something," Lucroy said with a smile Wednesday night.
That, obviously, was a joke, but the punishment he has been imposing on opposing pitchers is not. Entering Thursday with a .341 batting average, .403 on-base percentage and .509 slugging mark -- not to mention the 25 doubles that tie him for the MLB lead and 28 RBIs -- Lucroy is having one of the best offensive seasons of any catcher in baseball, putting himself in line for what would be his first All-Star Game.
Brewers fans have seen this before. In 2012, Lucroy was hitting .345/.387/.583 at the end of May -- boosted by a .388 average that month -- when a freak accident led to a broken hand that dampened his season. Lucroy missed about eight weeks and hit .299 the rest of the way.
Though injuries are impossible to predict, Lucroy has avoided them in 2014 -- and bucked a careerlong trend in the process. He has slashed .293/.330/.465 in June since breaking into the Majors as a 23-year-old in 2010. That's a good month, certainly, but it's an odd dropoff compared to his May averages (.331/.372/.521).
Through 10 games this June, Lucroy is hitting .444 with a .475 on-base percentage. Thanks to two homers and four doubles -- including a pair in the Brewers' 3-1 win over the Mets on Wednesday -- he's slugging .722.
"It's one of those things that's been weird the past few years, but there's nothing different about this this year at all," said Lucroy, who turns 28 on Friday. "It was just a matter of my swing feeling right and all that."
Whatever the difference, manager Ron Roenicke thinks this is closer to what will be the long-term norm for his catcher. Before praising Lucroy's growth as a defensive backstop, Roenicke said he would be "surprised" if Lucroy ever hits under .280.
"I think he's always going to be able to hit. His approach is ideal. If you're teaching a young kid how to hit, you'll say, 'Do what this guy does,'" Roenicke said Wednesday. "So it allows him to stay more consistent with what he does. … When everybody else is trying to catch up to stuff, he knows he's on time. He doesn't have to chase stuff. And I think his approach is going to always allow him to be a really good hitter.
"Luc's locked in, he has been for quite a while. His at-bats are outstanding."
Roenicke among visitors to replay central
NEW YORK -- For the first 2 1/2 months of baseball's first season with instant replay, manager Ron Roenicke has had questions building up. Thursday morning, he sought some answers.
With the club in the Big Apple and the coaching staff possessing a couple of hours to kill, Roenicke and a handful of others visited Major League Baseball's Replay Operations Center in Manhattan.
"It was good. I'm glad I went over," Roenicke said. "We saw how the process works exactly when they get calls, what happens once they get that call, how the system works.
"My question always was why does it take so long in this process? Because we're trying to keep things rolling, and it seems like it's too much waiting around. I don't know how we're going to clean that up."
Officials at the command center pulled up a number of specific plays to discuss with the Brewers' staff, including one from Wednesday night's 3-1 win over the Mets. In the fifth inning, Mets manager Terry Collins challenged a play in which Taylor Teagarden was called out at first on a hard grounder to first baseman Mark Reynolds, who fed pitcher Wily Peralta.
The call on the field stood, but it raised a good question: When is the ball "caught"? When it is fully in the pocket of the glove or the initial moment of contact between ball and mitt?
According to what Roenicke learned Thursday, the latter.
"It's when it hits leather," Roenicke said. "But some [camera] views can't see when it's hitting that, so that becomes the tough part."
Brewers sign seven more Draft picks
NEW YORK -- The Brewers' front office has been busy.
The club announced Thursday the signings of seven more players from last week's First-Year Player Draft, bringing the two-day total to 17.
Among those inking their first professional deals were three picks from the top 10 rounds: Indiana University third baseman Dustin DeMuth, prep right-hander David Burkhalter and Kansas State outfielder Mitch Meyer.
DeMuth led his team with a .374 average while slugging .531 as a senior this season before going in the fifth round. Meyer, Milwaukee's seventh-round selection, batted .264 with a .351 on-base percentage as a redshirt junior.
Collegiate righties Brandon Woodruff (11th round) and Caleb Smith (15th round) were also among the new signees. Right-hander Taylor Stark (30th round) and southpaw Chad Reeves (33rd round) rounded out Thursday's list.
• With left-hander Jon Niese on the mound for New York on Thursday, Rickie Weeks replaced Scooter Gennett at second base and atop the lineup. Manager Ron Roenicke said he didn't consider anyone else to bat leadoff.
• Before Aramis Ramirez's second-inning solo blast Thursday night, the Brewers hadn't homered since June 5, the series finale against Minnesota. "I haven't even thought about it," Roenicke said before the game.
Tim Healey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.