MILWAUKEE -- Catcher Jonathan Lucroy drew a pair of walks and scored a run in his Minor League season debut on Thursday night and could be back with the Brewers for their upcoming road trip.Lucroy, who is recovering from a fractured right pinkie finger with Double-A Huntsville, had four plate appearances in Huntsville's season-opening win at Jacksonville. He is "on schedule," manager Ron Roenicke said. "He'll catch again [Friday and Saturday] and then we'll see where we are with him," Roenicke said. The Brewers begin a three-city trip on Tuesday in Pittsburgh. "It's not a question of his legs getting in shape or his throwing," Roenicke said. "What it comes down to is his timing offensively. As soon as he feels like he can come up here and give us good at-bats -- and I'm not saying he has to go down there and get three hits every day before he's ready -- but when he tells us that he feels really good offensively, then I think he's ready to go." Lucroy is one of three Brewers beginning Minor League rehabilitation assignments. Reliever LaTroy Hawkins, working back from last season's right shoulder surgery, struck out four batters over two scoreless innings for Class A Brevard County at Daytona, Fla., on Friday night. He struck out two in a 1-2-3 sixth inning, then worked around two singles and an error with two more strikeouts in a scoreless seventh.
"Felt great," Hawkins wrote on Twitter, where he posts as @Adidas219. "The guys in the [bullpen] down here gave me the nickname grandpa! What can I say!"
Next up is left-hander Manny Parra (back), who is to begin a Minor League rehabilitation assignment with Class A Wisconsin on Saturday.
Morgan earning more playing time
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers traded for Nyjer Morgan at the end of Spring Training to bolster their depth in center field, but he is suddenly earning a more prominent role in the team's right-field rotation.Manager Ron Roenicke cautioned against calling Morgan a regular just yet. "As long as he keeps doing well and Corey [Hart, the team's injured right fielder] is not back here, then he will be out there quite a bit," Roenicke said. "I'm not going to say he's everyday, but he will be out there quite a bit." Invoking Hart indicated that Roenicke plans to continue using Morgan in right field and not as a more regular starter in center, where the Brewers remain committed to Carlos Gomez. For Friday's series opener against the Cubs, Gomez started in center field and batted second, and Morgan was in right field batting seventh. Gomez bunted for a pair of singles in Thursday's win, and Morgan set up the Brewers' winning run with a double, a steal of third and then a plate collision with Braves catcher Brian McCann on an infield grounder. He also made a pair of nice catches in right field. Entering the Cubs series, Morgan was 6-for-13 (.462) with a double, a triple and a stolen base. "He does bring a spark when he's getting on base and when he's making great plays in the outfield," Roenicke said. "He's really nice to have." If Morgan starts more, it would come most at the expense of veteran Mark Kotsay, a fellow left-handed hitter who started for the Brewers on Opening Day. Kotsay had his first two Brewers hits in Wednesday's win over the Braves and is off to a 2-for-11 start to his Brewers career. Hart remains sidelined with a strained left rib-cage muscle. He did some aggressive outfield running drills on Friday but continues to feel discomfort in his side when he tries hitting or throwing at full strength.
Manager Ron Roenicke wasn't ready to reveal as of Thursday afternoon his plans for the upcoming pitching rotation. He and pitching coach Rick Kranitz have discussed using Marco Estrada as a regular part of the rotation beginning Tuesday in Pittsburgh to give the other four pitchers an extra day off. Or, they could keep Estrada in the bullpen until April 16 at Washington, the next date on which Milwaukee needs a fifth starter.
Right-hander Zack Greinke is scheduled to throw another bullpen session on Saturday as he works back from a cracked left rib. Greinke threw his full arsenal of pitches in his first such session on Thursday.
The Brewers announced they had received cash considerations from Toronto to complete the Dec. 3 deal in which right-hander Carlos Villanueva was sent to the Blue Jays. The Brewers were planning to nontender Villanueva, and they found a last-minute trade partner in Toronto. Villanueva has not allowed a run in two relief appearances with his new team.