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Monday, February 14, 2011

Jonathan Lucroy: Hard Working, Humble, Awesome

Last week the guys at the Bernies Crew fan blog spoke with Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy as part of a podcast. For those who haven't had a chance to listen to the podcast, I've included here some excerpts and summarization. The main thrust of the interview reinforces our perception of Lucroy-- a humble, hard working individual who doesn't take anything for granted.
Jim (Breen, of Bernies Crew) kicked off the interview by asking Lucroy about his experience last summer when he was called up to the big leagues. In California when he got the call, he flew overnight to Minnesota to join the Brewers and didn't sleep at all that night. He first called his wife, then his parents, and admitted that it was an "emotional moment."

Lucroy said that moving so quickly from the minors to the majors was a big adjustment. He was "thrown in the fire" and forced to "learn on the fly," saying that he "still [has] a lot more to learn." He felt good with Brewers' pitchers and hoped that they felt good with him behind the plate. The biggest difference between minor league and major league talent, he said, is consistency.

Asked if he changed his approach at the plate once he arrived in the majors, Lucroy replied that he "put too much pressure on [himself]." Historically, he walked nearly as much as he struck out, but he "wanted to prove [himself]." Last year's experience helped him learn to deal with the ups and downs of the season. This year he'll "try to relax more [and] let ability take over."

Regarding Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, the two biggest additions to the 2011 Brewers, Lucoy said he'd spoken to Marcum several times already and he's looking forward to getting to know Greinke during Spring Training. Of Marcum, he said, "He's going to go out there and compete. I'm pretty excited to catch him; plus, he's pretty dirty," referring to his pitching ability, not his personal hygiene. Displaying his humble character, he said he "definitely [doesn't] deserve ... to catch those guys."

Lucroy had nothing but good things to say about our very own homegrown ace, Yovani Gallardo. He "absolutely [believes]" that Gallardo has the stuff to compete for the Cy Young award. "He's tough to hit. He has the ability to do anything. I just feel so comfortable with him pitching," he said.

Breen closed the interview by asking Lucroy what his goals were for the upcoming season. He cited Ryan Braun by saying that he'll "do whatever I can and the numbers will take care of [themselves]." Expecting to hit near the bottom of the Brewers order, he'll try to lay down bunts, hit sac flies, make contact, and basically "just [try] to help this team win and be consistent on both sides of my game."

Lucroy thanked the fans and asked them to continue to come out and support the team. "We're blessed with a very good baseball city," he said.

A young catcher with tools like Lucroy's is truly a blessing for any team. He's a hard worker and we can expect him to continually work to improve his game throughout his career. He should be fun for Brewers fans to watch this year and in years to come.

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