PHOENIX -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke is as patriotic an American as they come, but he was not exactly devastated to see Team USA eliminated from the World Baseball Classic on Friday.
Puerto Rico's 4-3 win over the Americans meant the return of the Brewers' No. 1 catcher, Jonathan Lucroy, to Brewers camp, not to mention National League MVP runner-up Ryan Braun. Both players were traveling back to Phoenix from Miami on Saturday, and Lucroy could be back in the Brewers' lineup as early as Sunday.
"You can't want to root against the U.S., but we do need one of our catchers back in camp and having Luc back is going to be huge," Roenicke said.
The club's other catcher, Martin Maldonado, moved on with Puerto Rico after the win-or-go-home game vs. the U.S.
Roenicke will meet with Lucroy before setting his Sunday lineup. Lucroy had only five at-bats in the tournament, so he will probably play extensively in the coming days.
Braun may ease back into Brewers duty after getting 25 at-bats in the Classic. He typically requires little Spring Training work to feel comfortable at the plate.
"He gets ready fast, so I don't expect him to be in the lineup [Sunday]," Roenicke said.
Braun and Lucroy will have to pass exit physicals before they are cleared to play for the Brewers, per World Baseball Classic rules.