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News » NOTES Melvin stands behind Suppan Starter stumbled on opening day


NOTES Melvin stands behind Suppan Starter stumbled on opening day


NOTES  Melvin stands behind Suppan  Starter stumbled on opening day
In remarks before the Milwaukee Brewers' home opener Friday against the Chicago Cubs, general manager Doug Melvin defended veteran right-hander Jeff Suppan, who was tagged for six runs in four innings on opening day in San Francisco and has been the target of disgruntled fans.

"When we signed Jeff, the things that highlighted us about Jeff were that he was never on the disabled list; he was a durable guy," said Melvin, who signed Suppan to a four-year, $42 million deal on Christmas Eve 2006.

"He'll go out there and win in double figures. He's great in the clubhouse; he's a veteran guy that players respect. We didn't expect an 18-game winner, a 20-game winner. Jeff has never been that."

Suppan, 34, went 12-12 with a 4.62 earned run average in 34 starts for the Brewers in 2007 and followed that with a 10-10 mark and 4.96 ERA in 31 starts last season. After going 5-0 with a 3.00 ERA last August, he went 0-3 with an 8.44 ERA in September, then was hit hard (five runs, three homers in three innings) in the National League Division Series-eliminating loss to Philadelphia.

"He does have moments, like some pitchers do when they're in slumps," Melvin said. "They'll have good games and bad games. It's almost similar to what hitters go through. But when you're a pitcher, it seems to stand out more and people notice it more.

"But I know without Dave Bush and Jeff Suppan going 9-0 (combined) in the month of August last year, we probably wouldn't have the postseason appearance. Jeff has given us what we hoped for, what we expected."

Martinez has skull fractures: Giants reliever Joe Martinez, struck on the head by a line drive off the bat of Brewers centerfielder Mike Cameron in the ninth inning Thursday night, suffered three small hairline fractures as well as a concussion.

Martinez will be kept in the hospital for three or four days for observation. He is expected to make a full recovery but in the meantime was placed on the 15-day disabled list.

The incident was upsetting to Cameron, who suffered severe facial fractures in 2005 in an outfield collision with New York Mets teammate Carlos Beltran.

"We hope that Joe Martinez is going to be fine, going to be OK," Melvin said. "You don't wish that on anybody.

"Your job is to go up there and hit the ball hard. That's not the result you want. It was obvious it bothered Mike. He's been swinging the bat well."

Martinez's injury paled in comparison to the tragedy in Los Angeles, where Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart was killed in a car crash. Melvin said Class AAA Nashville pitcher Nick Green, a former minor-league teammate of Adenhart's, was given permission to go to the funeral services.

Green was claimed off waivers from the Angels before the start of spring training.

Well-dressed man: Brewers owner Mark Attanasio noted how popular Brewers apparel has become, including his wardrobe.

"This is one of the few days I don't have one piece of Brewers clothing on," said Attanasio, wearing a coat and tie. "I won't comment on my boxer shorts. I'm always wearing something that says Brewers . It's part of my pride.

"My first year here, I think there were more Packers jerseys in the stadium than Brewers gear. Today, I saw only Brewers gear. That feels great."

Attanasio also noted how nice it was to see the new banner hanging above the left-field wall commemorating the Brewers' 2008 wild-card playoff berth. It joined banners honoring the 1981 American League Division Series team as well as the 1982 AL pennant winners.

"I'm one of these guys who's a sucker for the hardware, so I love it," Attanasio said. "We'll try to add a few more."

No offense taken: Attanasio said he was taken aback somewhat that few preseason prognosticators picked the Brewers to return to the playoffs but said it wasn't necessarily a bad thing.

"It surprised me a little bit, given the fact we've got eight returning position players who really can play most of the time," he said. "In terms of bothering me, I'd actually like to fly under the radar.

"A couple of years ago, there was a lot of hype around our team, especially when we jumped out to a big lead in 2007. It put pressure on us. It creates less pressure and it's good when people think we're not any good. We know we're good."

Copyright 2009, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 11, 2009

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