Stom­ach ail­ment de­lays Lu­croy’s de­but

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Pa­trick Saun­ders

Jonathan Lu­croy’s Rock­ies de­but will have to wait.

About 45 min­utes be­fore Tues­day night’s game against the New York Mets, the club’s new start­ing catcher was scratched be­cause of a stom­ach ail­ment. Vet­eran backup Ryan Hani­gan started in Lu­croy’s place.

Just a cou­ple of hours be­fore he was scratched, Lu­croy ex­pressed his ex­cite­ment about join­ing a Rock­ies team that is hold­ing onto a Na­tional League wild-card spot.

“It’s a breath of fresh air,” Lu­croy said of his sud­den ar­rival in Colorado, “even if the air is a lit­tle thin. I’m ex­cited. I’m ready to give ev­ery­thing I can.”

Lu­croy, 31 was ac­quired in a non­waiver dead­line trade with Texas on Sun­day night. Tony Wolters, 25, who started 58 games for the Rock­ies this sea­son, was op­tioned to Triple-A Al­bu­querque to clear a spot on the 25-man ros­ter for Lu­croy.

Lu­croy, now wear­ing jersey No. 21, is the Rock­ies’ catcher for one pri­mary rea­son: ex­pe­ri­ence. In man­ager Bud Black’s eyes, that is the great sep­a­ra­tor when it comes to big-league catch­ers.

“We feel like we are get­ting a vet­eran catcher who’s been bat­tle tested in Au­gust and Septem­ber with other teams in pen­nant races,” Black said. “We feel like he can help us, es­pe­cially go­ing with our young starters, like we are. I think there is a com­fort in that, for all of us — most im­por­tantly the start­ing pitch­ers.”

Lu­croy has played 930 games and gained a rep­u­ta­tion as a catcher who com­mands the field and di­rects pitch­ers with a firm hand. Af­ter a sea­son full of trade spec­u­la­tion, Lu­croy was thrilled to land with a con­tender in Colorado.

“This is my third time go­ing through it, my sec­ond time be­ing traded,” Lu­croy said. “Ru­mors and talk, a lot of it is con­jec­ture. You never know what’s true and what’s not. But it worked out great. I’m happy to be here and happy to con­trib­ute the best I can.”

Lu­croy, an all-star for Mil­wau­kee in 2011 and Texas in 2016, is a ca­reer .280 hit­ter, with 94 home runs and 445 RBIs. He has strug­gled this sea­son, bat­ting .242, with 15 dou­bles, four home runs and 27 RBIs in 77 games. Long con­sid­ered one of the best pitch framers in the game, de­fen­sive met­rics have ranked him as one of the worst this sea­son.

Black, how­ever, be­lieves the Rock­ies got the man they wanted, and needed.

“You look at the rank­ing of the best catch­ers in the game, and he was right there with the best of them,” Black said. “He was up there with the (Buster) Poseys and (Yadier) Moli­nas and a cou­ple of other guys. Jonathan Lu­croy was right there in the mix.”

Black shot down the idea that the num­bers down­grade Lu­croy as a catcher this sea­son.

“There are a lot of num­bers, but here’s the deal: I don’t buy into that,” Black said. “What I’m see­ing this year, that’s what I got. This guy can catch.” Foot­notes. Left-han­der reliever Jake McGee, on the dis­abled list be­cause of tight­ness in his mid­dle back, said he’s feel­ing much bet­ter and ex­pects to start throw­ing again soon. … Al­bu­querque in­fielder Ryan McMa­hon was named the PCL player of the week for the sec­ond time since June 1. Last week, he bat­ted .520, with two homers, two dou­bles, a triple and eight RBIs.

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