October 2010

Uecker released from hospital

Just in from the Brewers:
Milwaukee Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker has been released from Milwaukee’s Froedtert Hospital after undergoing successful heart surgery last Tuesday.
“I want to thank the doctors and staff at Froedtert again for the terrific care throughout the surgery and recovery,” Uecker said. “I am encouraged to be going home and I appreciate the kind wishes from Brewers fans as I continue to recuperate.”
The surgery was performed by Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin Cardiothoracic Surgeon Alfred C. Nicolosi, MD.  
“We’re pleased that Bob’s doing well and can continue his recovery at home,” Nicolosi said. 
No interviews are available at this time, but it is expected that Uecker will be made available to the media in a press briefing at Miller Park at some point during his recovery. 
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Melvin: No decision on manager

Brewers media relations director Mike Vassallo just passed along a quote from general manager Doug Melvin that will stand as Melvin’s statement about today’s Bobby Valentine rumors:

“No decision has been made,” Melvin said. 
So, there you go. At least for public consumption, Melvin is keeping the search open for the team’s next manager. Four names have popped up most: Valentine (click here if you missed the story from earlier today), Mets scout Bob Melvin, White Sox coach Joey Cora and Angels coach Ron Roenicke. 
With the World Series beginning Wednesday night, it seems likely that Doug Melvin & Co. will wait until a World Champion is crowned before naming Milwaukee’s next skipper. 
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Rumor mill focuses on Valentine

Is former Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine in line to be the next skipper of the Milwaukee Brewers? 
The Wisconsin Radio Network’s Bill Scott cited a source inside the Brewers front office in reporting that the team had agreed in principal with Valentine but had yet to reach contract terms. According to the report, posted on the network’s website, Valentine wants $10 million over three years. Valentine, who has also managed in Japan’s Major Leagues, is currently working as an analyst for ESPN. 
A Brewers spokesperson said he knew nothing of an agreement with Valentine or anybody else. Brewers general manager Doug Melvin has been conducting his search behind closed doors and did not immediately return a message seeking comment. 
Melvin has shot down a false alarm before. Immediately after the season, a report surfaced that the Brewers were set to hire former D-backs skipper Bob Brenly, but Melvin had yet to conduct any interviews at that point. 
Mets scout Bob Melvin and White Sox coach Joey Cora are reportedly among the Brewers’ other finalists. Angels coach Ron Roenicke, reached by MLB.com earlier in the week, wouldn’t say whether he was still in the running. 
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Report says B. Melvin, Cora among finalists

FoxSports.com reported tonight that Mets scout Bob Melvin and White Sox bench coach Joey Cora are among the candidates who will interview a second time for Milwaukee’s managerial opening. Another candidate, Pat Listach, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he was informed he’s out of the running. 

Brewers GM Doug Melvin told me last week he couldn’t rule out naming a new manager before the end of the World Series. But it’s more likely that he will wait until after, allowing some time for a second round of interviews. 
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Seid confirms: Montgomery on the move

Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid confirmed today that the team is losing another of its top scouts. Assistant scouting director Ray Montgomery is leaving the Brewers to become the D-backs’ amateur scouting director.

Montgomery spent eight seasons in Milwaukee’s organization, including the past two as scouting director Bruce Seid’s top aide. He originally joined the Brewers as an area scout for South Texas and Louisiana in December 2002 and was responsible for the scouting and signing second baseman Rickie Weeks in 2003.
“Ray has been a strong and successful part of this organization and we wish him well,” Seid said. “My goal is to continue to train, develop and promote our own scouts and also be open to pursuing others.”
In Arizona, Montgomery will replace Tom Allison, another former Brewers scout.
The move was first reported Wednesday night by the Arizona Republic and confirmed to MLB.com by a baseball official. The D-backs were not available to comment.
Seid, Montgomery, Allison and Astros scouting director Bobby Heck all once worked under the Brewers’ highly regarded former scouting director Jack Zduriencik, who is now the general manager in Seattle.
The D-backs earlier this week added another man with Brewers ties in former second baseman Eric Young, who is joining Arizona as first-base coach.
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Report says Montgomery leaving for D-backs

Assistant Brewers scouting director Ray Montgomery is leaving the team to become the Arizona D-backs’ amateur scouting director, the Arizona Republic reported Wednesday night. 

Montgomery spent eight seasons in Milwaukee’s organization including the past two as scouting director Bruce Seid’s top aide. He originally joined the Brewers as an area scout for South Texas and Louisiana in December 2002, and was responsible for the scouting and signing second baseman Rickie Weeks in 2003. 
In Arizona, Montgomery replaces Tom Allison, another former Brewers scout. According to the Republic, the D-backs plan to officially introduce Montgomery next week. 
The D-backs earlier this week added another man with Brewers ties in former second baseman Eric Young, who is joining Arizona as first base coach. 
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Successful surgery for Uecker

Good news from the Brewers:

Milwaukee Brewers radio broadcaster Bob Uecker today underwent successful heart surgery at Milwaukee’s Froedtert Hospital. The six-hour surgery was performed by Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin Cardiothoracic Surgeon Alfred C. Nicolosi, MD.  
“The surgery went very well,” said Nicolosi. “We did a limited repair of his pseudoaneurysm without having to redo anything from his first surgery.”  
It is expected that Uecker will remain hospitalized at Froedtert for approximately one week. The recovery time for the surgery is projected to be a minimum of eight weeks.
“On behalf of the entire Brewers organization, we are relieved to know that Bob’s latest surgery went as planned, and we look forward to his complete and speedy recovery,” said Brewers Chairman and Principal Owner Mark Attanasio.  “As always, we look forward to having Bob back at Spring Training in a little more than four months from now.”
“Our family is thankful today’s surgery went as expected,” said Bob Uecker, Jr., son of Bob, Sr. “We again thank all of those who continue to provide support through expressions of concern and well wishes.”
Periodic updates regarding Uecker’s condition will be announced through the Brewers. At this time, no interviews are being granted. All requests for information should be directed to the Brewers through the contact information listed above.
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Brewers re-sign Rivera, Hinton

The Brewers extended two more invitations to Major League Spring Training camp this week, signing catcher Mike Rivera and right-hander Robert Hinton to Minor League contracts that promise a locker in the big league clubhouse at Maryvale Baseball Park. 

Rivera, 34, was a capable backup for the Brewers from 2006-09 but was let go after the 2009 season because he was eligible for salary arbitration. He signed with the Yankees and later with the Marlins, for whom he appeared in seven Major League games last season. 
With Rivera back in the organization, it will be interesting to see what the Brewers do with George Kottaras, who couldn’t throw out opposing baserunners in 2010. Kottaras is still an affordable “zero to three” player for next season but he’s out of Minor League options.
Hinton, 26, has pitched the past seven seasons in the Brewers’ farm system. He was 4-4 with a 4.16 ERA in a 2010 season split between Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville. 
The Brewers also re-signed Milwaukee native Chris Nowak to a Minor League contract that doesn’t include a big-league camp invite. The Waukesha North High School graduate finished last season at Double-A Huntsville. 
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Brewers to interview Listach next week

Bill Ladson, MLB.com’s Washington Nationals scribe, adds another name to the list of Brewers managerial candidates. Here’s what he blogged this afternoon:

The Brewers received permission to talk to Nationals third-base coach Pat Listach about their managerial vacancy, according two baseball sources with knowledge of the situation. 
The interview between Listach and the Brewers will take place Tuesday in Milwaukee. Listach is currently managing Ponce of Puerto Rico Winter League and will fly to Milwaukee for the interview with general manager Doug Melvin. 
Listach and general manager Mike Rizzo were not available for comment. 
Listach has a history with the Brewers. He was drafted by the Brewers in the fifth round of the 1988 First-Year Player Draft. He would go on to play five Major League seasons with the Brewers. His best year was in 1992, when he hit .290 with one home run, 47 RBIs, 54 stolen bases and 93 runs scored. He would win American League Rookie of the Year honors for that great season.  
Listach has managerial experience. Listach managed in the Cubs’ Minor League system for four seasons, going 253-221. His best season was in 2008, when he guided Triple-A Iowa to an 83-59 record, and he is still respected by the organization. 
There is a possibility that Listach could get an interview with the Blue Jays. Another source said Listach is part of a long list of candidates who could replace Cito Gaston as manager. 
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Scoreboard project begins

Scott Paulus/Brewers

The Brewers on Thursday began the most costly project at Miller Park in eight years, when a construction crew removed a 15,000-pound sign bearing the ballpark’s name. It was a dramatic first step in the offseason-long job of replacing Miller Park’s scoreboard system. 

All told, the scoreboard project will cost the Miller Park Stadium District and the team more than $10 million. 
“This is the first step in what is obviously a major project,” Brewers executive vice president of business operations Rick Schlesinger said. “It’s nice to see it went off smoothly.”
Crews will spend the next four weeks dismantling the old video board, matrix board and surrounding structure before installing a new, state-of-the-art, 5,940 sq. ft. scoreboard. Installation is expected to span eight weeks, leaving the Brewers about a month to test the new system before 2011 Opening Day. 
A new “Miller Park” sign will be built-in to the new scoreboard, so the 15-foot by 75-foot existing sign had to go. It had towered over center field since the turnstiles started spinning in 2001, and the Brewers have yet to decide what to do with it. 
A crew from Mortenson Construction had been preparing for the project all week, and just before noon CT on Thursday, the sign was on the move. A crane lifted it up and over the center field roof track and set it down in the players’ parking lot, where the sign will remain until Brewers officials decide what to do with it.
The Brewers and the stadium district have not undertaken a project on this scale since major roof repairs were needed after the 2002 season. The new scoreboard will feature a true 1080 high definition display and, at nearly 6,000 sq. ft., will be the fourth-largest in Major League Baseball, about 40 sq. ft. larger than the scoreboard at new Yankee Stadium. 
The Brewers had originally intended to replace the scoreboard system prior to last season, but plans were pushed back a year. 
“The existing scoreboard was designed in the late 1990s and it’s celebrating its 10th birthday,” Schlesinger said. “The technology to service the board is obsolete, and the board itself, as folks probably saw this year, was starting to run into some trouble.”
The other major offseason project at Miller Park this winter is a remodel of the stadium’s founders suites on the field level. 
Thanks to photographer Scott Paulus for the dramatic shots from atop Miller Park’s roof rail. Here are some more:

Shaun Scott (above) and Ray Risch (below, left) of Mortenson Construction prepare to lower the Miller Park sign by first removing a service beam used by maintenance teams to service the sign. (Scott Paulus/Brewers)
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