PHOENIX -- Brewers starting catcher Jonathan Lucroy was cleared to resume baseball activities on Thursday after an examination of his fractured right pinkie finger.
Lucroy returned to Dr. Don Sheridan, who last week inserted a pin in Lucroy's finger to aid the healing process. X-rays on Thursday showed the joint was healing as expected, and Lucroy was fitted with a splint. The club announced he can resume catching bullpen sessions and doing some light throwing.
That was welcome news for the Brewers' No. 1 catcher, who was growing tired of inactivity while recovering from the first significant injury of his career. He expects to stay familiar with Brewers pitchers by warming them up in the bullpen before they enter games.
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"It's great," he said. "It feels good to be able to get back on the field, get some work done and join the rest of the team. The separation kills me. I don't feel like I'm part of the team when I'm out there standing around."
Lucroy was hurt in a fielding drill on Feb. 23 and is expected to need about four weeks of recovery time. The Brewers will determine later this month whether he'll need to begin the season on the disabled list. Opening Day is March 31 in Cincinnati.
In another injury development, manager Ron Roenicke said infielder Mat Gamel had been backed off fielding drills because he was not making progress with a strained muscle along his right rib cage. He was to take some ground balls on Thursday and some swings on Friday to gauge whether the strategy helped.
"If we're not making any progress, we'll go back to not doing much," Roenicke said. "We weren't gaining a whole lot of ground, so that's why we backed him off, really from doing almost any activity. I guess we're making a little progress now, so we're trying to step up some things."