Results tagged ‘ Ron Roenicke ’

If necessary, Saito free to return home

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said he had already discussed with general manager Doug Melvin the possibility that Takashi Saito would have to return home to Japan, where a huge earthquake struck near his hometown Friday. The baseball implications of Friday’s disaster were low on the list of priorities of club officials concerned for Saito’s extended family. 
“I don’t really want to think about that right now,” Roenicke said.
Roenicke spoke to Saito early Friday morning before the reliever left to wait for word from loved ones. He had already reached his wife, who was safe with their three children on higher ground. But Roenicke said Saito was unable to reach his parents and other family members who live on low ground near Sendai, a Pacific coast city hit especially hard by high waves.
“He’s obviously concerned, pretty upset about what happened,” Roenicke said. “He went back to his place here [in Phoenix] … to try to sit by his phone and see if he got any more information.” 
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Champ visits Brewers camp

Scott Paulus/Brewers
Brewers players and coaches got a treat Wednesday morning when boxing legend Muhammad Ali visited Maryvale Baseball Park. 
The visit was coordinated by the Brewers Community Foundation and Athletes for Hope, a nonprofit founded in 2007 by an elite group of philanthropic athletes who inspire other pros to find a charitable cause and support it.  Ali’s wife, Lonnie, addressed the team before players and coaches posed for photos with the champ. 
“His wife said this, that with the personality that he had, he’s recognized around the world maybe more than any other person,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “[Players] are all getting their photos. Hey, this guy was incredible.” 
Here are some more images from team photographer Scott Paulus. Look for some video of the visit later on
Thanks to Scott Paulus for the shots. That’s Ali’s wife, Lonnie, in the orange blouse, watching Ron Roenicke present Ali with a Brewers jersey. And, of course, Hall of Famer Robin Yount shaking Ali’s hand in the final photo.
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Roenicke close to setting starting rotation

Now that Zack Greinke and Yovani Gallardo each have two spring starts in the books, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Tuesday morning that he was close to naming his Opening Day pitching rotation. 
“We need to do it soon,” Roenicke told reporters, about 90 minutes before he was to sit with general manager Doug Melvin to discuss the plan. “We need to make decisions.”
Roenicke expected to make the plan public by Wednesday. The Brewers’ season-opener is March 31 in Cincinnati.
It’s a “tricky” call for the Brewers’ rookie manager, Greinke said last week, because the team has three pitchers who started 2010 Opening Day. Greinke handled that honor for the Royals, Gallardo for the Brewers and Shaun Marcum for the Blue Jays. 
That trio of right-handers is set for the Opening Day rotation along with two lefties, Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson.
Roenicke has spoken individually to all three pitchers and said he was considering a number of factors, including the pitchers’ own opinions.
“We’re very fortunate to have three guys who can start Opening Day,” Roenicke said. “I don’t think too many organizations have that. … The question here, coming into it, was Yovani has been here for a while and he’s a No. 1. Do you go with him because he’s been here and you owe it to him? 
“Then, also, talking to the guys, I wanted to know what they were thinking. … Their response to me makes a big difference on where I want to put them, because some guys are like, ‘I don’t care. You put me where you want to put me.’ Other guys are, ‘Hey, I’m expecting to be your No. 1 guy.’ Sometimes you play to that personality.
“It’s just like anything else, you put these guys in a position where you think they’re going to succeed best. If I think Yovani is going to succeed best at No. 2 or No. 3, then that’s where I want to put him. Marcum, he’s a bulldog, probably wants to be that No. 1 guy. Personalities have a lot to do with where we end up slotting guys.”
Matchups also play a role. The Brewers play the Reds on March 31 and April 2-3, then return home for an April 4 home opener against the Braves that begins a four-game series and a seven-game homestand. 
“Obviously, you want to win that first game, you want to start your season off [well],” Roenicke said. “But you also want to do the things that set you up for the next days, too.”
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Brewers sixth starter? Not sure

The Brewers happily traded back-end depth for front-line talent in their starting rotation, but it led to a “what if” that stumped manager Ron Roenicke on Saturday.

With left-hander Manny Parra out indefinitely with a bad back and right-hander Mark Rogers moving along slowly after some early-spring shoulder stiffness, what if one of a member of the five man starting rotation goes down before Opening Day? Who would step in as the so-called sixth starter?

“Do you want me to look at the list?” Roenicke asked, reaching for a roster.

“[Tim] Dillard is there,” Roenicke said, referring to the right-hander and longtime Brewers farmhand who a year ago radically altered his style to a sidearm sling. “[Wily] Peralta is a possibility, even though he’s young. [Amaury] Rivas is a possibility.”

Peralta is a top Brewers pitching prospect, but he is also 21 years old and has made all of eight starts above A-ball. Rivas was the team’s Minor League pitcher of the year in 2009, but would have to make a big leap after spending last season at Double-A Huntsville.

Reliever Kameron Loe could be an emergency option, considering he made 47 starts for the Rangers from 2004-07. But Roenicke indicated he leave Loe in the bullpen.

“When he was with Texas, they tried to tinker with what to do with him, starting or relieving. He never found his niche, and I think he’s found it” in relief, Roenicke said. “I wouldn’t want to mess with that.”

The Brewers’ relatively thin starting ranks are a change from last season, when they entered Spring Training with four established pitchers vying for two rotation spots behind Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf and Doug Davis.

In the end, that depth did not translate to success, and the Brewers ranked next-to-last in the National League in starters’ ERA. General manager Doug Melvin spent the winter focused on adding front-line pitching, trading for Shaun Marcum of the Blue Jays and Zack Greinke of the Royals to go with Gallardo, Wolf and Chris Narveson.

“I’ll take our five starters, and we’ll work out the others,” Roenicke said.


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Morning Brew: Rogers, Greinke, Yount

Here’s a morning brew of notes from our session with manager Ron Roenicke:

— Zack Greinke will try again today to throw his first live batting practice session at Maryvale Baseball Park. His session scheduled for Wednesday was pushed back because of some bruised ribs, which Roenicke said was suffered “off the field.” Roenicke declined to expound. “Honestly,” Roenicke said, “It’s really not a big deal.”
— The team is backing off right-hander Mark Rogers, who shut down his own throwing session on Wednesday because of tightness in the back of his surgically-repaired shoulder. Rogers will be treated something like a rehabbing player, and will move through a throwing program before returning to the mound. 
— Catcher Jonathan Lucroy called Roenicke on Wednesday night after learning he’d need surgery for a broken pinkie finger on his throwing hand. Roenicke expects Lucroy only to miss a couple of days of camp before returning to catching bullpens, but it will be about four weeks before he’s able to hit.
— Righty Shaun Marcum will start one of the team’s split-squad Cactus League openers on Monday against the Giants and Cubs, Roenicke said. We’ll check with pitching coach Rick Kranitz to see which game Marcum will pitch — I’m guessing he’ll face the Giants — and who will start the other game. 
— Hall of Famer Robin Yount arrived in camp this morning and was in uniform for the workout. He lives in Phoenix always stops by Maryvale Baseball Park during Spring Training. Yount offered some great advice to Roenicke for dealing with the media, but it’s not fit to print in this space. 
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Greinke has a fan in skipper

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke will get a good look at all five of his projected starters in live batting practice today, including high-profile newcomer Zack Greinke. Roenicke is already a fan of Greinke’s complex personality. 

“I really like his personality, and you guys know this from the conversation [on Tuesday, when Greinke met with a group of reporters], there’s no beating around the bush,” Roenicke said. “He just lays it out there. 
“Say we’re covering first base [in drills] — and this is ‘for instance,’ he didn’t say this. If I say to him, ‘Hey Zack, have we done enough covering first base?’ He’ll say, ‘Yeah, that’s a waste of time.’ He’s just telling me what he thinks. There’s no malice in what he says.”
Roenicke also lauded Greinke’s work ethic.
“He’s one of those guys like [catcher Jonathan Lucroy] — he puts a lot of effort into this,” Roenicke said. “He studies video, he studies the advanced reports. He knows what he wants to do, and he gets locked in on a thing.”
Roenicke was prodded again Wednesday to reveal whether Greinke or somebody else would get the Opening Day nod against the Reds, who have already named their three starters for the opening series. Roenicke said he has an idea, but had yet to inform the players. 
So that announcement will have to wait. 
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Roenicke prepping for full squad

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke will get a much better feel for his club beginning Tuesday, when the full squad works out for the first time. Principal owner Mark Attanasio is among the guests scheduled to address the team in a long morning meeting, and Roenicke plans to set a tone for his first season at the helm. 
“I prepare a little bit, because there are certain things that are really important to me that I want them to know,” Roenicke said. “From there, it just kind of goes where I see it needs to go. I’ve been listening to Mike [Scioscia] for the last 11 years, and when I’m listening to him in his meetings, I always have an idea of what I would like to say.”
The workout will feature live batting practice for the first time, hitters’ first opportunity to see “real” pitching and 11 pitchers’ first opportunity to throw with somebody in the batter’s box. 
“They do ramp it up, and on the guys that are hard to see you see the ugly swings,” Roenicke said. “Although, this first day, most swings are kind of ugly.”
The Brewers begin Cactus League play on Feb. 28 with split-squad games against the Cubs and Giants. Roenicke intends to keep his starting pitchers away from National League Central opponents this spring, so whomever gets the nod for that first day will likely face the Giants. Roenicke and pitching coach Rick Kranitz are still formulating their exhibition rotation.
With Tuesday’s workout, things will start to look a whole lot more like Spring Training.
“Hopefully there won’t be too much confusion,” Roenicke said. “But it will be different, because there will be a lot more guys moving around.”
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Brewers looking at backup catchers

The Brewers are focused mostly on pitching at these Winter Meetings, but they’re also dabbling in other areas. 
Catcher appears to be one of them. Manager Ron Roenicke hinted that the Brewers were looking for a backup to 24-year-old catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who made strides as a rookie in 2010. 
“I think Doug is looking at a lot of different things, and I think any time you have a veteran catcher with a young guy, especially if it’s the right veteran, it’s really going to bring that young guy along,” Roenicke said. 
He offered Bengie Molina as an example of the type of player he likes. Molina happens to be a free agent and he was in Anaheim with Roenicke from 2000-05, but Roenicke didn’t specifically say that the Brewers were making any overtures. 
The Rockies are reportedly interested in Molina, who played for the Giants and Rangers last season.
Roenicke said he sees Lucroy catching 100-120 games next season.  
“The other guy, whoever his backup is going to be, is going to get some playing time,” Roenicke said. 
Having a veteran “will just help that young guy understand what it takes to be that total package catcher,” Roenicke said. “It’s not just blocking balls.  It’s not just throwing out runners, but it is about game calling and it is the communication that you have with a pitcher and when he’s struggling and in between innings you walk over to talk to him about what’s going on and try to get him back on the right track. 
“That takes a lot of experience. But when you have an experienced guy out there helping you with it, it makes it a lot easier.”
At the moment, Milwaukee has three catchers on the roster in Lucroy, George Kottaras and Minor Leaguer Martin Maldonado. Kottaras is out of options and batted .203 with 10 home runs last season in 212 at-bats. He threw out four of 48 would-be base stealers, or 8.3 percent.
The Brewers also are looking at utility men. General manager Doug Melvin said the club at some point had reached out the agent for Delwyn Young, who became a free agent Nov. 29 after he was designated for assignment by the Pirates. Assistant GM Gord Ash said the Brewers have not heard back from agent Matt Colleran. 
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was first to report the Brewers’ connection to Young. It’s an interesting one; In July 2009, Young called Ryan Braun a coward after a series of plunkings in a Brewers-Pirates game at PNC Park, prompting Fielder to respond, “Who the [heck] is Delwyn Young?” 
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Peterson still under consideration for pitching post

Rick Peterson is still under consideration to remain as Brewers pitching coach after a pair of meetings last week with new manager Ron Roenicke, but Roenicke plans to spend his first full week on the job sifting through other candidates before making final decisions. 
Peterson still has one season left on his two-year contract, but general manager Doug Melvin is giving Roenicke freedom to select his own staff. 
“The meeting with me and [Peterson] went well,” Roenicke said. “But bench coach, pitching coach, those two spots are so important to a new manager. I really have to make sure I have the right person, whether it’s Rick, whether it’s somebody else, I need to make sure.” 
Roenicke wants to make his decision soon, partly so Peterson knows where he stands heading into 2011. 
In addition to the pitching post, Roenicke is also in the market for a bench coach, first- and third-base coaches and a bullpen coach. The only spot spoken for belongs to hitting coach Dale Sveum, who signed a two-year contract extension last month. 
“We want to [set the staff] as quickly as we can,” Roenicke said. “We also know it’s important to get the right people, so we don’t want to rush into it. Doug and [Brewers assistant GM] Gord Ash have gotten together a bunch of names for me to look at, people they really like, and they’ve come up with some nice names.” 
The Brewers introduced Roenicke at Miller Park on Thursday as the 18th manager in franchise history. 
He returned home to California over the weekend but will travel to Phoenix later this week to meet with Melvin, Sveum and the Brewers’ development staff there. Roenicke will be back in Milwaukee several times over the coming months, including in late January for the team’s “Brewers On Deck” event. 
“Once we get the coaching staff together, I’ve got the numbers for all of the players and I want to start calling them,” Roenicke said. “It’s going to be pretty busy here for the next couple of weeks.” 
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Roenicke hiring official

It’s official: Ron Roenicke is the next Milwaukee Brewers field manager.  
The Brewers made the announcement Thursday morning and planned to introduce Roenicke, 54, at a 1:30 p.m. CT press conference at Miller Park. Club officials confirmed he was the choice two days earlier, but held off the formal announcement while some final administrative steps were completed and Roenicke traveled to Milwaukee. 
Roenicke got a two-year contract with a club option for 2013.
The former outfielder played 527 games over eight Major League seasons for six different teams, but has made his Major League mark mostly as a coach under Angels manager Mike Scioscia. Roenicke joined Scioscia’s staff in 2000 as the third base coach, and was promoted to bench coach for 2006 after the Rays hired away Joe Maddon. 
Roenicke is the third member of Scioscia’s original staff to be handed a team of his own. Maddon has managed the Rays since 2006, and former Angels pitching coach Bud Black has managed the Padres since 2007. 
Roenicke has not managed in the Major Leagues, but he did manage 643 games in the Minors before joining the Angels’ coaching staff.
He came highly recommended to Brewers officials by a number of current and former colleagues, including former Angels GM Bill Stoneman and Maddon, who lauded Roenicke’s ability to see things that others miss. 
When they were together on the Angels staff, “He was always looking for the advantage, and I was doing the same thing,” Maddon said. “Believe me, you’re getting a really bright baseball person, and one of the most honest people I’ve met in my life. That’s a real good thing when talking to Major League players. He’s going to talk to those guys straight-up.”
Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, assistant GM Gord Ash and special assistant Dan O’Brien all called around for input on the various candidates, and were impressed by Roenicke as a family man and a baseball man with a record of working well with diverse personalities.
Melvin entered the offseason leaning toward choosing a manager with previous managerial experience, and ended up with two such finalists in Bob Melvin and Bobby Valentine. But Roenicke and White Sox bench coach Joey Cora were especially impressive in their interviews. As the search continued, Roenicke rose to the top.
“The more people they talked to, the more he stepped up,” said a source with knowledge of the Brewers’ search. “You kept hearing from people, ‘This guy is ready and has been ready.'”
Roenicke is now getting a chance to prove it. He inherits a Brewers team that won the National League Wild Card in 2008 but posted consecutive sub-.500 seasons under manager Ken Macha, who was let go last month. 
Thursday’s announcement was not expected to include any news about Roenicke’s plans for his coaching staff. Hitting coach Dale Sveum is already in place after signing a two-year contract extension during the League Championship Series. Pitching coach Rick Peterson has one year left on his contract, but Roenicke may have some say in whether Peterson remains in that position. 
Roenicke is the 18th manager in Brewers history and, when he manages the club’s March 31, 2011 season-opener in Cincinnati, will be the club’s sixth skipper in the span of 10 seasons. That list also includes Davey Lopes, Jerry Royster (the interim manager for most of 2002), Ned Yost, Sveum (who managed the final 12 regular season games and four playoff games in ’08) and Macha. 
“Ron brings to the Brewers the skill set needed to maintain high standards of professional excellence and success,” Doug Melvin said in a statement.  “I am extremely confident that he will develop an organizational culture that fosters teamwork.  Ron projects self confidence, authority and enthusiasm, which will inspire performance.  He is a true professional with an extensive background as a player, manager, third-base coach and bench coach.  I was very impressed with the number of positive endorsements we received on his behalf.”
Roenicke resides in Chino Hills, Calif. with his wife, Karen.  The couple has a son named Lance, who is an outfielder at UC-Santa Barbara.  Born in Covina, Calif., Roenicke attended Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif. from 1975-76 before transferring to UCLA in 1977.
His brother, Gary, also played in the Major Leagues and his nephew, Josh, pitches for the Blue Jays.
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