Catcher Maldonado's secret weapon: the bunt

Catcher Maldonado's secret weapon: the bunt

Catcher Maldonado's secret weapon: the bunt
MILWAUKEE -- Since being called up to Milwaukee in late May after an injury to Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers catcher Martin Maldonado has happily done whatever has been asked of him.

And he's even done some things nobody really expected.

Maldonado registered his third bunt hit of the season on Monday night -- an impressive feat for a 6-foot-1, 225-pound catcher who will never blow anyone away with his speed on the basepaths. Other big leaguers with three bunt singles include speedsters like Angels rookie Mike Trout, Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler and the Marlins' Jose Reyes.

On May 30, his second game of the year, Maldonado also successfully executed one of Milwaukee's Major League-leading eight squeeze plays, proving you don't have to be little to play small ball.

"It shows what a guy can do if he just thinks about the game, looks around at the defense, thinks about what the team needs at the time and how he can help the team get on base," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "Everybody on our team should be looking and saying, 'How in the world can this guy get bunt base hits?' It should rub off on them. Sometimes it doesn't, and it baffles me, but it's a great example of what you can do to help us win."

When Maldonado came to Milwaukee from Triple-A Nashville, Roenicke knew he was getting a quality defensive catcher with a strong arm. The 25-year-old has proven that to be true this season by catching four runners stealing, while not allowing a single passed ball.

Maldonado has also been able to complement his work behind the plate with production in the batters box. In exactly 100 plate appearances entering Tuesday's game against Miami, Maldonado owned a .267 batting average with 16 RBIs and five home runs.

Roenicke said he's been generally pleased with Maldonado's at-bats, his defense -- and of course, the bunts.

"He's doing a nice job," Roenicke said. "He's getting used to the pitchers more. Still going to be a ways, I think, until he gets the other teams we're playing and can lock in on their lineups and how to get guys out. But he learns pretty fast. He's always asking questions. I think he's going to be pretty good."