Brewers owner Attanasio praises Pat Murphy for guiding team to NL Central lead amid injuries

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio acknowledged it’s too soon in the season to celebrate but offered plenty of praise Friday for how new manager Pat Murphy navigated the first two months of the season while dealing with numerous injuries.

The Brewers entered Friday with a five-game lead in the NL Central standings despite playing all or part of the season so far without two-time All-Star closer Devin Williams, two-time All-Star pitcher Brandon Woodruff, pitcher Wade Miley, outfielder Christian Yelich and first baseman Rhys Hoskins among others. Hoskins returned to the lineup Friday after missing 2 ½ weeks with a hamstring injury.

That followed an offseason in which 2021 Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes was traded to Baltimore and the rival Chicago Cubs hired away Craig Counsell, the winningest manager in Brewers history.

“You always expect injuries,” Attanasio said Friday in his first session with Brewers beat reporters since the home opener. “We’ve had, I think, more than our fair share. I might not have been quite as optimistic in the spring if I knew the spate of injuries we’d have. Yeah, it feels terrific.”

Attanasio was talking one day after the Brewers completed a 3-1 series victory in a four-game set with the Cubs that marked Counsell’s return to American Family Field. Attanasio was asked about the chorus of boos Counsell received throughout the series.

“The fans speak for themselves,” Attanasio said. “There have been times I’m sure they’re not that happy with me, either.”

Attanasio was speaking at a media session that also included Brewers president of baseball operations Matt Arnold. They both preached patience with rookie outfielder Jackson Chourio and expressed skepticism about the likelihood of trading shortstop Willy Adames, who is eligible to become a free agent after the season.

The 20-year-old Chourio entered Friday batting .210 with a .254 on-base percentage, five homers and seven steals in his rookie season. The Brewers signed Chourio to an eight-year, $82 million contract in December when he had played only six games above Double-A.

“You see what some of these other guys are doing at the same age — Jackson Holliday and Wyatt Langford and guys that haven’t been able to even survive here,” Arnold said. “And if you zoom out, I think he’s on pace still for something like 20 homers and 30 stolen bases, which is pretty incredible for a 20-year-old.”

Arnold said Chourio is going through the “natural evolution of a young player” and is “definitely on the right track.” Attanasio doubted that Chourio would benefit from a minor league assignment.

“I don’t see where he’s going to learn anything at Triple-A at this point,” Attanasio said.

Adames entered Friday batting .260 with a .796 OPS, nine homers, 39 RBIs and eight steals in 56 games. Attanasio acknowledged that “he’s going to command, I think, quite a significant package as a free agent.”

“From my perspective, you can never close the door or anything, but he is the heartbeat of our team in a lot of ways,” Arnold said. “I always want to stay open-minded but also recognize the value he brings to us every day.”



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