With their top two catchers, Jonathan Lucroy and Martin Maldonado, heading out soon to play for their respective countries in the World Baseball Classic, the Milwaukee Brewers need to determine who will take their places behind the plate while they're gone.

The backstop they want to look at more closely is Robinzon Diaz, who moved up the pecking order Thursday while youngster Rafael Neda was sent to minor-league camp.

"With us starting our games, I didn't want (Neda) to just sit around and not do much," manager Ron Roenicke said. "We talk about that catcher, if (Lucroy or Maldonado) goes down, what do we do? Diaz, enough people like him that I'd like to see him some."

Diaz, 29, has 44 games of major-league experience, with 41 coming with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009. He's a career .281 hitter with one home run and 20 runs batted.

"He can handle some of these pitchers that are throwing upper 90s; shouldn't have a problem with them," said Roenicke. "Swings the bat OK. But should be able to handle all our guys.

"Everybody likes him. I think when we're looking at those backups and where our guys are on the depth chart, he's a guy who will be there. And for him to be there, it helps if he gets to know our pitchers beforehand.

"And it helps our staff to watch him and evaluate him."

If Diaz performs well, there's a good chance he'd open the season as the starting catcher at Class AAA Nashville.