MILWAUKEE -- Rehabbing Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy will take his next big step toward the active roster on Saturday, though few will get to see it.
Lucroy is scheduled to take batting practice for the first time in the indoor batting cage below Miller Park. On the disabled list since he fractured his right hand in late May, Lucroy has been limited so far to hitting off a tee and taking "flips" from a Brewers coach. He spent the All-Star break in Milwaukee to keep his workouts on schedule.
"I feel good," he said. "It's a matter of working my way up and getting my hand strength back, getting that explosion through the ball. It's like anything else, when you haven't had that contact in a while, you have to get used to it. I think it's only a matter of time."
How much time? Lucroy is still thinking about July 20 as a possible return date, whether that means a return to the Brewers' active roster or the beginning of a Minor League rehabilitation assignment. But that is only his personal goal; the team's medical staff controls the schedule.
"There's no reason to bring him back too soon and baby him through," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We've got two catchers here now that we like. When he comes back he needs to be a contributor, not just in our lineup."
Lucroy was the Brewers' No. 2 run-producer behind Ryan Braun at the time he was injured. He subsequently underwent surgery to stabilize the fractured bone in his hand.
"I don't think I'm any more than a week away from being ready -- that's what I think," Lucroy said. "The doctor, we'll see what he said. But for me, my body, arm-wise and swing-wise, I think I'm almost there."