Manager Jeff Banister said that he has witnessed all-around improvement from Lucroy, who drove in the Rangers’ only run Monday and has seven RBI this month. Banister said that Lucroy is also finding a defensive groove.
“He has had some big hits,” Banister said. “He is receiving the ball well, blocking well and hitting well. I think he is receiving better and blocking better. The throwing opportunities we have given him, he has been OK.”
The surge in playing time could also be an attempt by the front office to showcase Lucroy ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. Some believe that Chirinos could handle everyday catching duties, with Brett Nicholas backing him up, and that a Lucroy trade could net the Rangers bullpen help.
Lucroy, who was traded at last year’s deadline, has been his own toughest critic this season. He entered Tuesday with only four home runs, a .258 batting average and a .668 on-base plus slugging.
Banister declined to dive into the rumor mill.
“This group of players, we need to go out and win with this group,” he said. “We believe in these guys, and this is our first real opportunity to play with this group of guys. I know our front office is doing their due diligence on where we are and where we might be. The job I have been asked to do is manage this group and go out and win with this group of players.”