For the first time in a long time, the Milwaukee Brewers will need to determine their starting catcher in spring training.
Last year, both were traded -- Lucroy to the Texas Rangers at the Aug. 1 deadline and Maldonado to the Los Angeles Angels in December. Thus, the Brewers are expected to pick from Manny Pina, Andrew Susac and Jett Bandy to find their new starting catcher this spring.
"We felt like we're really starting over with our catching," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "It's a good place. We challenged the catchers at the beginning of camp, with the understanding that this is the start of it for you guys. We're starting anew with our catching."
Pina is the team veteran of the group, having started 16 games behind the plate for the Brewers in 2016. The 29-year-old held his own with the bat as well, hitting .254 with two home runs and 12 RBIs in 71 at-bats.
Susac, acquired from the San Francisco Giants in the Will Smith trade, started four games at catcher for Milwaukee last season, while Bandy is new to the team, added from the Angels in the Maldonado trade.
Bandy received the most experience of the trio last season, starting 60 games behind the plate for the Angels. He hit .234 with eight homers and 25 RBIs.
According to Haudricourt, Counsell insists that none of the three were favored entering camp and it will be a true competition for the two catching spots on the major league roster.
-- Kyle Brasseur