Tag:Ken Macha
Posted on: March 29, 2010 4:33 pm
Edited on: April 1, 2010 6:22 pm
 

Sabbatical over, Edmonds zeroes in on Brewers job

MARYVALE, Ariz. -- Is it actually possible to get younger by taking a year off?

Jim Edmonds, 39, sure looks it. He's about to complete one of the spring's most impressive comebacks, winning a spot on the Milwaukee Brewers' opening day roster after taking the entire 2009 season off.

Mexico? Margaritaville?

"Kids and golf," he says. "Spent some time on the beach with my kids.

"I haven't gotten a chance to do that in 15 years."

He's leaner than when we last saw him in 2008, fading away with San Diego and the Cubs. He's toned. He's hitting .293 with a .383 on-base percentage in the Cactus League with two homers and 12 RBI in 16 games.

"I think the year off not only helped me get healthy, but it gave me a fresher mind and body," says Edmonds, a four-time All Star who has eight career Gold Gloves. "I was able to get all the negativity out of my mind.

"Now, I'm not worrying about whether it's a lefty or righty pitching, matchups, anything."

When we last saw him, he had a strained calf, suffered a concussion, got into it with Tony La Russa, his former manager in St. Louis. He was flat-out worn out.

"Trying to keep up with all the doubters and the negativity, it was tough to hit," he says.

Now, he's been one of the most pleasant surprises in the Brewers' camp. He's not going to win a starting job, not with slugger Ryan Braun in left, Corey Hart in right and speedy Carlos Gomez in center. But in a right-handed-heavy lineup, Edmonds' lefty bat will find plenty of playing time the way things stand now.

"I can see him getting 250 at-bats," Brewers manager Ken Macha says. "I don't think that will be a problem. If he plays two or three times a week against right-handed pitching, that's 75 games right there, times four at-bats ... 250 at-bats, I can see that happening easily.

"His defense has been terrific. I'm good with him in left field, center field or right field. His arm is still very good, and accurate."

Macha already is envisioning Edmonds hitting second in the lineup when he's in there.

"I just want guys who will get on base for Braun and Prince Fielder," the manager says.

Besides, there's precedent for this sort of thing in Milwaukee. Outfielder Gabe Kapler did the same thing as Edmonds in 2008, winning a job after not playing in '07, and hit .301 with eight homers and 38 RBI. Kapler wound up parlaying that into two more one-year, $1 million-plus contracts in Tampa Bay.

Sunblock Day: Oh man, temperatures in the 80s. Are we sure spring training is wrapping up this week? It's just starting to heat up. Only problem is, so are the allergies.

Likes: Ricky Weeks, healthy. ... Milwaukee starter David Bush getting past the arm fatigue issues that plagued him in 2009 as he was coming back from a micro tear of his right triceps muscle that sidelined him from June through August. Bush right now probably slots in as the Brewers' fourth starter behind Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf and Doug Davis. Fifth starter? Brewers manager Ken Macha still has a lot of ifs, but it's between Manny Parra and Chris Narveson after Jeff Suppan was put on the disabled list with a sore neck. ... Prince Fielder going over his iPod with Brewers reliever LaTroy Hawkins and recommending tunes early Monday morning. ... Brandon Morrow feeling great after throwing the simulated game for Toronto the other day. Would love to see him take advantage of his new gig in Toronto after pitching out of Seattle's bullpen the past few years. ... Livan Hernandez in the Nationals rotation? Love to see old people still productive. ... Colorado is looking for a middle reliever, ala what Oakland will get with Chad Gaudin. ... Can't wait for the Butler-Michigan State Final Four game Saturday. ... Ya know, if you get your spinach sautéed with olive oil and garlic, it's not bad.

Dislikes: All these ads I keep seeing about the World Cup this summer on ESPN, the only thing that makes them tolerable is the music, U2's City of Blinding Lights. That's as much attention as I will be paying to soccer for the summer, thank you very much. ... Spring is almost over and I have not even been to Waffle House once.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Just 'cuz I don't run my mouth
"Don't mean I got nothing to say"

-- Drive-By Truckers, Marry Me

Posted on: October 22, 2008 8:17 pm
 

Milwaukee managerial chatter

ST. PETERSBURG -- The way things stand right now, the next manager of the Milwaukee Brewers will have experience in piloting a team into the playoffs -- but will be coming off of an involuntary layoff.

Ken Macha guided Oakland to AL West titles in 2003 and 2006 -- but was fired after his A's lost to Detroit in the '06 American League Championship Series.

Willie Randolph managed the New York Mets to the 2006 National League Championship Series -- but was fired last June after an epic collapse in '07 and a slow start in '08.

Bob Brenly managed the Arizona Diamondbacks to the World Series title in 2001 and guided them back to the playoffs in '02 -- but was fired in 2004 and lately has been working as an analyst for the Chicago Cubs.

General manager Doug Melvin confirmed to Brewers beat writer Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that he already has interviewed Macha and Randolph, and he's scheduled to interview Brenly on Wednesday.

The GM also told Haudricourt that he's impressed enough with that trio that he may not interview anybody else and choose from one of them.

That would leave several intriguing candidates out -- including Bobby Valentine, currently managing in Japan, and Buck Showalter, currently working for ESPN, among others.


Posted on: March 16, 2008 7:25 pm
 

Bonjour, Mr. Gagne

MARYVALE, Ariz. -- Brewers manager Ned Yost has learned to say "good morning" in French to Quebec native Eric Gagne, but other than that, Yost mostly is hands-off. And truth be told, is paying closer attention to folks other than his new closer.

Mostly, Gagne has been honing his skills on the back fields while preparing for the season. He's worked in only two "A" games so far, and three "B" games.

"He's a different animal," Yost says. "He's been in the game for quite awhile. He knows what it takes to be successful. The main thing that kicks in with guys like him is adrenalin, and you're not going to see that with Gagne until the season starts."

Yost is completely dismissing Gagne's struggles in Boston last summer when he went 2-2 with a 6.75 ERA and practically was booed out of town.

Instead, he points to the 16 saves and 2.16 ERA earlier in the year in Texas.

"Two different jobs," Yost says.

Gagne also is a different animal in that he essentially missed two seasons, 2005 and 2006, with injuries, then did well in Texas for part of last season and then was terrible in Boston. Plus, he was named in the Mitchell Report as a suspected steroids user.

So how can a manager be completely confident that Gagne will become Mr. Dependable Closer? Blind faith?

"Absolutely he's ready to go, and it's not even blind faith," Yost says. "It's solid faith."

Gagne says he is throwing "awesome. I'm feeling good. No pain. No stiffness. I'm throwing free and easy."

He's got no restrictions physically, and he's thrown all of his pitches -- including his nasty change-up -- in each of his past two outings. Before that, he says, he only threw his fastball while working on arm strength and location.

"That's why I like 'B' games," he says.

Meantime, the man who signed a one-year, $10 million deal is very happy in his new home.

"They're young here," Gagne says. "They've got a lot of energy.

"It's pretty cool."

Likes: Prince Fielder mimicking batting stances from other players -- both Brewers and non-Brewers -- in the Milwaukee clubhouse, and outfielder Mike Cameron nearly doubled over in laughter. ... Justin Upton ready to start in right field for Arizona at 20. ... Barry Zito winning a Cactus League game despite surrendering seven runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. The ball flies in the thin desert air. ... Monti's Steakhouse in Tempe. ... Chatting with former Oakland skipper Ken Macha in Tempe the other day. Macha, entering his second season after being fired by Oakland, is itching to get back into uniform. ... Butler in the NCAA tournament, but not playing South Alabama in Alabama. Come on, the Bulldogs deserve better.

Dislikes: The Mets' Carlos Delgado needing stitches after getting speared by a broken bat. Forget, for a minute, base coaches now being forced to wear helmets. Talk to anybody in uniform over the past few years, and one of the greatest fears is a jagged, broken bat doing some serious damage, and possibly killing someone. Thank goodness Delgado got out of it with only four stitches. ... Atlanta's Jeff Francoeur getting beaned in the lip by St. Louis pitcher Todd Wellemeyer. If the situation was reversed, why do I have the feeling that Cardinals skipper Tony La Russa would be starting World War III, and going on about how it's never an accident when a pitch sails near somebody's head? ... Arizona coach Kirk Gibson turns 51 in May? When did he turn 50?

Sunblock day? We avoided the predicted thunderstorms -- at least, in the Phoenix area -- and got a mix of sun and clouds. But the temperature dropped toward the 50s. More long pants and jacket day than sunblock day.

Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:

"This old heart of mine been broke a thousand times
"Each time you break away I feel you're gone to stay
"Lonely nights that come, memories that flow
"Bringin' ya back again, hurting me more and more"

-- The Isley Brothers, This Old Heart of Mine

 
 
 
 
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