Brewers owner gives general manager Doug Melvin a vote of confidence


Despite back-to-back losing seasons Brewers owner Mark Attanasio gave general manager Doug Melvin a strong vote of confidence yesterday, saying: “He’s the guy next year.”
Attanasio admitted to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Melvin had “a tough season” but added that “in my six seasons here this was his first tough season” while noting the GM “still has two years on his contract.”
However, the owner stopped short of giving the same vote of confidence to manager Ken Macha, saying instead that “Doug is still doing his work” in evaluating Macha and “Doug and I will meet and have an end-of-the-season assessment and go from there.”
His reluctance to include Macha in the vote-of-confidence mix is noteworthy because earlier this week Buster Olney of reported that Macha is likely to be fired “unless there’s a last-hour change of heart on the part of the Brewers.”
Macha was hired to replace Ned Yost, who Melvin fired with a dozen games remaining in a 2008 season that saw the Brewers win 90 games and make the playoffs for the first time since 1982.

Mike Fiers may not be ready for start of regular season due to back issue

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Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that Tigers starter Mike Fiers is dealing with a back issue and may not be ready for the start of the season. Manager Ron Gardenhire characterized the injury as a “stiff back” and added, “Maybe a little bit of a bulging disk or something like that.”

Fiers, 32, signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Tigers in December. He has had a forgettable spring, yielding 12 runs on 10 hits and eight walks with seven strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings.

Fiers had a rotation spot locked up along with Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Francisco Liriano. Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris were battling it out for the No. 5 spot. If Fiers opens the regular season on the 10-day disabled list, both could have spots in the rotation.