Newly acquired catcher Jonathan Lucroy was given a day to decompress after joining the Texas Rangers four days ago in Baltimore.
Manager Jeff Banister said a multitude of reasons led him to giving Lucroy a day off. For one, he wanted Lucroy to take a breather and settle in after a week of trade deadline tension that left him and his family on pins and needles. Lucroy started all three games in Baltimore after joining the Rangers on Monday.
Plus, Banister said, Friday’s starter Martin Perez has a familiarity with Robinson Chirinos.
“All those factors for me just said, OK, today would be a good day to allow him to kind of decompress and watch,” Banister said. “He’s caught all of our pitchers with the exception of two [Perez and reliever Alex Claudio].”
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Lucroy is an option at first base where he started five games for his previous team, the Milwaukee Brewers.
“It allows some in-game flexibility. If we need to make a move, we can. The idea of Lucroy being able to go to first base, it does free up an option,” Banister said. “I think he plays adequate first base.”
Banister was impressed with Lucroy’s ability to learn Rangers’ pitchers in the middle of games against the Orioles.
“I was nervous for him because I know how difficult that is in a bullpen, let alone in the middle of a game,” he said. “They’re still human beings. Last time I checked, they didn’t have buttons and joy sticks. Lucroy is our primary catcher. He’s an every day guy, yet, everything going into the trade deadline, I’m sure there were some professional emotions.”
Lucroy, who played at Louisiana-Lafayette, said the Rangers were always a top spot for him to land. In an extensive interview with ESPN, he explained the tumult of the last couple weeks, turning down a trade to Cleveland and learning he had been traded to Texas.
“If we could pick a perfect spot to go as a family, and for competitive baseball, the Dallas area was the place,” Lucroy told ESPN. “They know their sports in Texas. Great fans. Great facilities. Great team. We have a lot of friends there. We were hoping the Rangers were still interested.”
Lewis eyes mound
Right-hander Colby Lewis hopes to throw off a mound Sunday for the first time since going on the disabled list with a right lat strain June 22. He was to have another MRI scan Friday to check his progress. He’s been getting them every two weeks.
Lewis will throw from 120 feet Saturday, up from 105 feet in Baltimore. Lewis said there’s a chance his return could be pushed back if the Rangers extend their first-place lead over the Astros this weekend. He’s eligible to come off the DL on Aug. 21.
“These three games are going to dictate how fast we push it,” he said.
Lewis said he feels good and hopes to return the last week of August.
Derek Holland, who is eligible to come off the DL a day before Lewis, made his first rehab start Friday for Triple A Round Rock. He allowed a single and a walk and had two strikeouts in two scoreless innings (28 pitches).
Banister said the club would be conservative with Lewis, but did not confirm whether this weekend’s outcome would alter the plan.
“He and Derek are important players in all of this,” Banister said. “Colby on the starting side of it is really important to us. I don’t think we need to accelerate his [return] at all.”
Lewis said as long as he’s feeling good he’s ready to return as soon the team wants him.
“I’m not really concerned in any manner,” he said. “I’m cool as long as I continue to feel great. I’ll come back when they want me to come back. I want to be back a lot sooner than later, of course.”
Catcher Bryan Holaday was claimed on outright waivers from the Rangers by the Boston Red Sox. The Fort Worth resident and former TCU star was activated off the 15-day DL and designated for assignment on Aug. 1.
Catcher Bobby Wilson was claimed by the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday. Both catchers were expendable once the Rangers acquired Lucroy.
Holaday was placed on the DL with a left thumb bruise July 5. He hit .238 with two homers and 13 RBIs in 28 games for the Rangers. He was acquired from the Tigers on March 29.