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In backup role, Maldonado able to remain sharp

In backup role, Maldonado able to remain sharp

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In backup role, Maldonado able to remain sharp
MILWAUKEE -- When a player sees his time on the field decrease, it often leads to a similar decrease in production, with fewer at-bats to stay sharp.

Brewers catcher Martin Maldonado has been the exception to that rule the last month. With Jonathan Lucroy out with a broken hand, Maldonado started 38 games behind the plate and appeared in 11 more from May 29-July 25. He batted .275 with 19 RBIs and five home runs in that stretch, providing manager Ron Roenicke and the Brewers with a pleasant surprise.

Since Lucroy's return on July 26, Maldonado has started just eight games. His ability to hit remains intact, though, as he entered Saturday batting .355 (11-for-31) with seven extra-base hits as the backup catcher.

"I'm really happy with him," Roenicke said. "Limited his everyday playing, and he's still swinging the bat and having good at-bats. ... He's been impressive."

Lucroy has made 13 starts since coming back, and he is batting .319 with six home runs and 35 RBIs for the season. The combination of the two catchers provides Milwaukee with a luxury Roenicke said most teams don't have.

"If your starter goes down, you look at who you have to replace him with, and it's usually hard to find a guy that you want out there every day," Roenicke said. "If something happens to [Lucory], we got a guy that can go out there and play every day."

While that's nice for Roenicke, it also makes life easier for Milwaukee's front office.

"If you look at it, we have two of the best young catchers in the game today," general manager Doug Melvin said on Friday. "Both guys are [26] years old, and that's a position I don't think we have to look at. Catcher's always been a tough position to fill."

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