When outfielder Keon Broxton arrives in the Orioles clubhouse, whether today or perhaps Friday in Colorado, he’s going to seek out former Brewers teammate Jonathan Villar. They spent parts of three seasons together. He already reached out to Villar after yesterday’s trade.
But Broxton also will recognize reliever Josh Lucas, a small baseball world reuniting them as well.
Lucas and Broxton played together at Lakeland Senior High School in Florida. They chose college after being drafted the first time and have crossed paths in the majors on opposite teams.
The small talk will be expanding.
“He’s fun, he’s really fun,” Lucas said. “Works hard. He’s a great athlete, so I’m sure he’ll figure it out. He works his tail off, so that’ll be nice to see.
“Since I moved out of Florida, I haven’t really talked to a lot of guys I grew up with and stuff, but when I see them, it’s just like old times. I’ve played against him when he was in Milwaukee and I was in St. Louis, and then when I went over to Oakland I saw him again when we played the Brewers.
“Anytime we see each other, it’s just like old times. It’s easy to pick it back up.”
The Blue Jays selected Lucas in the 39th round in 2009 and the Cardinals chose him in the 21st in 2010 out of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. The Phillies drafted Broxton in the 29th round in 2008 and the Diamondbacks got him in the third the following year out of Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, Fla.
“That dude’s a freak athlete,” Lucas said. “He was good at football, everything. Anything he wanted to be, he was good at.”
The Orioles only want him to be their center fielder. To play exceptional defense and perhaps tap into the power that produced 20 home runs with the Brewers in 2017.
He’s won’t have much trouble blending in the clubhouse.
“Oh, he’ll fit right in,” Lucas said. “We’ve got a bunch of characters in here, so he’ll just add to the bunch.”
The important stuff, like what number Broxton’s wearing, will be revealed later.
The Orioles have to make room for him on the 25-man roster. Joey Rickard has two options remaining, according to RosterResource.com. They could send down a reliever and go to a four-man bench, though they get an extra reserve this weekend with no designated hitter in Colorado. And can they afford a seven-man bullpen with starters unable to consistently pitch deep into games?
Hyde said Stevie Wilkerson is “going to play,” so he seems to be safe. He’s a valuable commodity with his ability to move around the infield and outfield and hit right-handed pitching. Hanser Alberto is crushing lefties and also gives the club a lot of flexibility.
A team has to carry at least two catchers. It isn’t in the rules, but it’s common sense.