MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Scooter Gennett is progressing in his return from a right quadriceps injury and is hopeful to return to the lineup sometime this weekend.
Gennett, who will miss his third consecutive game Friday, took batting practice and groundballs for the first time since leaving Tuesday night’s victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the fifth inning.
"I’m doing a lot better," Gennett said. "I’m getting my little stuff done in the training room. Jogging felt good. So yeah, I’m going to do normal BP stuff and take some groundballs. Just keep progressing from there."
With Rickie Weeks already slated to start Saturday with the Mets starting left-hander Jonathan Niese, Gennett is hoping to be ready to start Sunday against right-hander Jacob deGrom.
"I think that’s probably what the plan is," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He’s going to go through everything today, make sure all phases are good, and if he comes out of that they’ll let me know for the game (Friday).
"Hopefully he’ll be available (off the bench Saturday) and then we’ll see if we can get him back in there (Sunday) and see what happens."
The tightness first popped up for Gennett last Saturday in Washington, as the second baseman was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning. He appeared as a pinch-hitter Sunday before starting Monday and Tuesday.
Gennett felt the injury again while trying to leg out a ground ball in the third inning Tuesday against the Reds.
"It wasn’t like a particular grab," Gennett said. "It was just something that wasn’t getting any better. So you know a couple of days rests prevents something from getting worse.
"Normally I’m not one to come out of the game, but you know yourself and know your limits. If I kept pushing it the way I was it probably wouldn’t have ended up good. This is more to prevent something worse from happening."
Bianchi update: One week into his stint on the 15-day disabled list, infielder Jeff Bianchi still is experiencing soreness in his right elbow and hasn’t begun participating heavily in baseball activities.
Bianchi sat out the final game prior to the All-Star break and was then placed on the disabled list on July 18. He’s eligible to be activated on Aug. 2 but would need to progress quickly for that to happen.
"He’s still got a little soreness in the elbow," Roenicke said. "They’re trying to get him slowly back into baseball activities, but because of the elbow, he’s limited in what he can do. Until he’s asymptomatic, he’s not going to be doing anything."
The Brewers expected reliever Tyler Thornburg to return quickly when he went on the disabled list on June 7 with a right-elbow injury, but he’s still trying to work his way back.
"We send (Thornburg) out on the DL, and I expect him back in 15 days," Roenicke said. "The next thing I know it’s not getting any better. We’re at a period now with Jeff (Bianchi) where if this goes on much longer, same thing — I don’t know if he’ll be ready after the 15 days."
Lucroy sits: With Jonathan Lucroy being one of the key cogs in Milwaukee’s lineup, Roenicke has had a hard time finding a day off for the catcher. After catching 26 of the Brewers’ last 29 games — including their last 11 — Lucroy was off Friday.
"They kept asking me what day I wanted to take off and I told them, ‘Look, I don’t want a day off. I want to play,’" Lucroy said. "If I’m feeling good, I can contribute. I’m not tired, I’m feeling pretty good, so leave me out there.
"They’ve put me in, put me in and put me in, but today they told me they were going to give me a day off whether I liked it or not."
Roenicke has considered playing Lucroy at first base more to give him a break from catching but still having his bat in the lineup. There’s a chance that may happen more often down the stretch, especially if Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay continue to struggle to produce at the plate.
With Lucroy and Gennett out Friday, Rickie Weeks slid to the No. 2 spot in the lineup with Khris Davis hitting fifth and Overbay seventh.
"I would like to get him out at first base more," Roenicke said. "Behind the plate, it’s a matter of the days that he’s catching, how many, if I see him start to be a little tired at the plate or dragging a little bit behind the plate. Then sometimes it’s the matchup with the pitcher. If there’s a matchup where Luc just doesn’t see that guy well for whatever reason, then I think that may be a day I can give him off. But it’s hard.
"It’s hard when you’ve got a guy that’s that good offensively and does such a great job behind the plate. I don’t think when we lose when we put Maldy behind the plate because he’s so good defensively, but certainly with your lineup where you have to switch guys where Luc’s going to hit."