MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers coaching staff didn’t navigate this season without its fair share of criticism at times — even firing bullpen coach Stan Kyles at the end of July, during the height of the bullpen’s collapse.
But after a triumphant run at the end of the season, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin told manager Ron Roenicke on Monday that the entire Milwaukee coaching staff will be back for 2013, including interim bullpen coach Lee Tunnell, who will shed his interim tag next season.
“Everybody is coming back,” Roenicke announced on Tuesday. “This is a really good staff.
“I think (the continuity) definitely helps. Any time you change guys, you have a chance for somebody not to click with that person. The longer you’re with a guy, and if it’s the right guy, and he has a personality that he cares about the players, the players will eventually see how much he cares about them, then they’ll start to listen to them, and things usually go well. Sometimes certain personalities just take a little longer than others.”
Johnny Narron, who had drawn some criticism at the beginning of the season as the Brewers’ offense was stagnant for much of the season’s first two months, eventually got his offense going in his first year as coach. And pitching coach Rick Kranitz, who had gotten some heat in the middle of the season, was helped greatly by the breakout of several young pitchers on this year’s staff.
As for Tunnell, Roenicke said that his familiarity with the pitchers on the staff and his exemplary work in helping get closer John Axford up to par were two resounding reasons for the Brewers to give him a full season as coach.
“The helpful thing with Lee is he knows all these young guys,” Roenicke said. “He’s worked with them all, he’s done mechanics with them all, he’s gone through when they’ve been bad and when they’ve been good. So just the knowledge of those guys they’ve worked with him, it’s been very helpful.”
After navigating his team to an impressive turnaround in the season’s second half, Roenicke had some positive news about his own job, as well.