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Baseball: UL players benefiting from Lucroy’s time as a free agent + LSU Standing Room Tickets

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, March 2, 2018

While waiting to learn what his future holds, free-catcher Jonathan Lucroy – an eight-season major-leaguer – has been spending a lot of time lately around the UL baseball team.

Ragin’ Cajuns coach Tony Robichaux, for one, loves it.

“The greatest thing about him is you get to see a big-leaguer work,” Robichaux said. “That’s the nice thing about it.

“It’s been really good. I know our players have enjoyed watching him practice every day. That’s a big gift for us, anytime one of the pro guys (is around).”

Earlier this year, ex-Cajuns and current minor-league shortstop Blake Trahan – a third-round draft choice of the Cincinnati Reds in 2015 – spent time around the team.

Related: UL’s Robichaux suspended two games following ejection

This week, catcher Nick Thurman and pitchers Wyatt Marks and Evan Guillory – all current minor-league leaguers who played recently for UL – have been seen around M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park.

After a Cajun game last weekend, former UL third baseman Joe Robbins, who signed a minor-league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks after spending last season in the independent American Association, was seen taking swings at The Tigue.

Then there is Lucroy, a product of Umatilla High from Eustis, Florida, who played for UL from 2005-07 and was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the third round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft.

Lucroy – whose wife, Sarah, is a UL graduate – maintains an offseason home in the Lafayette area and remains close with both Robichaux and UL associate head coach Anthony Babineaux.

A two-time All-Star (2014, 2016) and career .281 hitter, he played most of his first seven seasons in the bigs with the Brewers.

Related: Cajuns coach Robichaux keeps going and going at UL

Traded to the Texas Rangers in 2016, he finished last season with the Colorado Rockies and – at least for now – remains unsigned for 2018.

Lucroy is widely regarded as the top catcher still available on the open market; MLB.com has him at No. 5 overall, The Sporting News at No. 11.

With spring training underway, however, he has no new team yet.

“I think anytime you can have minor-leaguers or a big-leaguer come in and work with them, and just let that rub off on them,” Robichaux, who coached Lucroy and the others, said of his current Cajuns, “I think that’s really good.”

Robichaux said today’s Cajuns benefit from “listening to (Lucroy’s) stories.”

But the way they’ve gained the most, he suggested, simply has been by watching him both work behind the plate and, while they’re waiting to do the same, hit in the batting cage.

Related: Fontenot’s double-squeeze bunt lifts hit-starved Cajuns

More: Lahare homers, then doesn’t, in controversial UL loss

“The hitters watching his protocol, how he starts his (batting practice) – hitting to opposite field, working around to where it’s time to pull the ball instead of just jumping in the batting cages and just starting to pull (it),” Robichaux said.

“Our catchers,” the Cajuns coach added, “watching him block and frame, and doing the things he does to try to get himself ready.”

Robichaux’s Cajuns, ranked No. 20 to start the season, were just 2-5 heading into Wednesday night’s game at Nicholls.

This weekend UL faces three nationally ranked SEC teams – No. 21 Mississippi State on Friday night,  No. 12 Vanderbilt on Saturday and No. 7 Kentucky on Sunday – in the Shriners College Classic at Minute Maid Park in Houston, home of the Astros.

On March 7, the Cajuns play host to a fourth nationally ranked SEC team – No. 14 LSU – at The Tigue.

Athletic Network Footnote by Dr. Ed Dugas.
Baseball: Standing Room Only Tickets Available For LSU Contest


Jeff Schneider, Associate Director of Athletics Communications

LAFAYETTE, La. – The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Athletics Department has announced that there are additional standing room only tickets available for purchase for the LSU game on March 7 at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field at Russo Park.
The remaining tickets for the LSU game are available to fans who are 2017 RCAF Annual Fund donors and go on sale starting Monday at 10 a.m. All purchases need to be made in person at the Cajundome Ticket Office.
Fans looking to donate to the RCAF Annual Fund can do so by calling (337) 851-2903 or visit RaginCajuns.com. The minimum contribution level to join the RCAF Annual Fund is $100. 

— Ragin’ Cajuns —