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Lucroy DH's in third rehab game

Lucroy DH's in third rehab game

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Lucroy DH's in third rehab game
GRAND CHUTE, Wis. -- A night after a 2012-record 5,920 fans saw Jonathan Lucroy's second rehab game at Time Warner Field at Fox Cities Stadium, 6,211 fans came out in Lucroy's third rehab game on Saturday.

After catching the first two games, five and six innings respectively, Lucroy was hitting cleanup in the Class A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers' lineup, serving as the designated hitter.

Lucroy went 0-for-3 at the plate, grounding into a double play. Behind in the count most of the night, Lucroy battled, but it didn't show in the box score. As Lucroy pointed out, it's a process.

"It's almost harder to hit down here than it is up there," said Lucroy. "You don't know what guys have or how hard they throw. There's no radar guns out there. You just don't know. It's tough. I forgot how hard it was to hit down here. Especially after not playing for a while. They made some good pitches on me and I got myself out. It's almost another Spring Training right now."

Lucroy said he feels good, physically, but has focused on facing live pitching again, as the vision and timing are things that he needs to work on after not playing for nearly two months.

"I didn't think I had really any good at-bats until that last AB," he said. "Other than that, I missed some pitches. I fouled some back that I hit if I'm sharp. It's part of getting back in playing shape."

Being a DH in Saturday's game, Lucroy was able to observe several players and give some advice. In the second inning, outfielder Ben McMahan hit a ball to center field for a single, but was thrown out at second.

"I understand what he was trying to do, taking an extra base. The guy in front of him was pretty slow," Lucroy said. "Not anything against him, but he's a slow runner. You've got to be aware of the guy in front of you, and what his speed is. You've got to watch the throw coming in from the outfield. If it's a low throw, you freeze. If it's a high throw, you go to second. Especially in his situation, he got hung up in the middle out there. Whenever you're hosed by that much, you have to get in a rundown and try to make something happen."

Lucroy was also able to watch catcher Rafael Neda, who Lucroy said looked sharp.

"I talked to him a little bit during practice," Lucroy said. "He did a pretty good job behind the plate. They know what they're doing."

After Saturday's game, Lucroy had a chance to talk to the team. The Western Division Midwest League champions are 8-10 in July, following a 15-9 June.

"Keep working hard. This is a game. Have fun," said Lucroy. "Keep battling and fighting. That's all you can do is never give up and keep working hard. As a Minor League baseball player, you never know what can happen."

The plan is for Lucroy to catch all nine innings of Sunday's game. From there, Lucroy will travel to Nashville and join the Triple-A Sounds on Tuesday.

Adam DeCock is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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