PEORIA, Ariz. – A clubhouse outbreak of pink eye is forcing the Milwaukee Brewers to find a new way to celebrate top plays at spring training.
As in, no high-fiving hand slaps until the condition is under control.
Catcher Jonathan Lucroy and pitching coach Rick Kranitz were the latest victims of pink eye. They stayed home in hopes of stopping the spread of the annoying and highly contagious malady that causes itchy eyes, among other symptoms.
"We've been going through it for a while and it seems like a couple of more show up every day," manager Ron Roenicke said.
"Trying to stay away from it. We can't have it go through the whole clubhouse," he said.
For now, Milwaukee players are supposed to avoid high-fives and instead tap elbows or bump batting glove-covered fists.
In the seventh inning of a 10-5 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Friday, after scoring on sacrifice fly, Hunter Morris approached the coaches sitting outside the Brewers dugout with his hand out as if he wanted to shake hands. But at last moment he pulled his hand back and gave them fist bumps.
Infielder Yadiel Rivera returned to action from pink eye on Friday and played in the loss. Juan Centeno, who started at catcher, returned Thursday and homered on Friday.
Roenicke's club also is dealing with flu-like symptoms. All-Star outfielder Ryan Braun was scratched for that reason on Friday.
"I'm hoping we put an end to this thing. Now we've got this darn chest thing going around that I've got," Roenicke said before the game.
Pitcher Wily Peralta was sent home because he felt ill, as well.
Lucroy is expected to return for Saturday's game and possibly catch.
"Luke, getting him back on the field and having him healthy going into the season, that's pretty important," Roenicke said. "The other little things, they're one or two days here and there. Everybody's going to have those."
Reliever Mike Fiers was trying to avoid the pink eye problem.
"I just don't want to catch it," he said. "Just try to be sanitary. Wash your hands after everything you do, be careful and don't put your hands in your eyes or your mouth. Just try to stay as clean as possible."