Attanasio backs Macha, Melvin

Attanasio backs Macha, Melvin

MINNEAPOLIS -- Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio stood staunchly behind his general manager and field manager on Saturday, saying Doug Melvin has total job security and that Ken Macha will not be dismissed on Monday, an off-day widely speculated as an opportunity for the team to make some changes.

Of Melvin, the GM whom Attanasio inherited when he purchased the Brewers in September 2004, Attanasio said, "Doug Melvin is very, very secure. You're not going to see any GM changes here. Absolutely not. Doug Melvin has built up too much credibility. You're going to have to have a lot more than even a bad season for him to have any issues with his job security."

And of Macha, the embattled Brewers manager, Attanasio said, "I can tell you, unequivocally, we are not making a manager change on Monday. There will be no news on that on Monday. We could lose the next two games 15-3 and we're not making a manager change on Monday."

Which begged the follow-up: What about Tuesday, when the Brewers begin a weeklong homestand against the Astros and Mets?

"Doug needs to make those decisions, and Doug has been pretty firm in his support of Ken, so I'm going to fall into line," Attanasio said.

Macha spent much of Saturday morning behind closed doors with Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash. Melvin spoke out earlier this week in Macha's defense, and Macha said he has been getting supportive phone calls lately from concerned friends around the game.

"I'll say what I've been saying: I'm fine," Macha said. "We need to play better, and that's my responsibility.

"The light at the end of the tunnel," Macha added, "isn't necessarily the train."

Attanasio joined the traveling party on Saturday as part of a previously planned "Fatherhood Initiative" along with Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett. About 24 fathers and children flew from Milwaukee to Minneapolis courtesy of Frontier Airlines for a ballgame.

At game time, it was down to business. Attanasio, Melvin and Ash planned to spend Saturday afternoon in a suite at Target Field discussing the ballclub.

"One of the things we're going to talk about is, are we doing everything we can to turn this thing around?" Attanasio said. "What you have to consider is, do we just let it [play out]? These are veterans. This is ... a lot better team than it's playing right now, and we just let it work itself out? Or, do we do anything a little different? We are going to address those issues, for sure."

A 15-3 loss to the Twins on Friday night left the Brewers with a 16-26 record and in fifth place in the National League Central, eight games behind the first-place Cardinals.

The problem has mostly been pitching, a major focus of Melvin & Co. last winter after the Brewers finished the 2009 season with the worst starters' ERA in the National League. Left-hander Randy Wolf is 3-4 with a 5.10 ERA in the first season of a three-year, $29.75 million contract, fellow starter Doug Davis was 1-4 with a 7.56 ERA before heading to the disabled list with swelling around his heart and reliever LaTroy Hawkins, who got a two-year, $7.5 million contract, ran up a 9.26 ERA before going to the DL with weakness in his right shoulder. All-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman, who re-signed for $8 million the day after the season, was temporarily removed from the closer's role after his fifth blown save Tuesday. He's working on the side with pitching coach Rick Peterson, another offseason import.

Melvin is certainly not the only GM whose offseason moves have not panned out thus far, and Attanasio shared some of the responsibility.

"We made a number of personnel decisions in the offseason and I approved every single one," Attanasio said. "It's not simply a function of, 'Hey I provided the highest payroll we've ever had at the Brewers.' Yes, I did. But that doesn't give me a free pass to come and criticize. Accountability starts with me and rolls from there."

The rest of Attanasio's morning was more pleasant than his 10-minute session with reporters. He and Mayor Barrett hosted a breakfast with participants in the Fatherhood Initiative trip, all of whom got to sit in the dugout while the Brewers prepared for their warmups, which were abbreviated by morning rain. One dad called it his "five minutes of fame."

Wearing Brewers T-shirts, the group took its place in a stadium along with thousands of other visiting fans.

"You look at something like this which is so big in concept in terms of fathers and their kids," Attanasio said. "We talk a lot in baseball about accountability, the accountability for this losing and all that. But what about accountability for dads and their [children]? So, what Mayor Barrett wanted to do here is have a reward for fathers, a whole cross-section of ages and races, who have been accountable to their kids. We're celebrating them for what they've done. It's a small group, but it makes you feel really good."

It was a nice respite. Attanasio admitted that he has not been feeling very good while watching the Brewers lose 10 of their last 11 games going into Saturday.

"I always say I'm a fan first, so like our fans I'm living and dying with the team," Attanasio said. "You never know what to expect in this great game of baseball, and I certainly didn't expect to be 10 games under .500 on May 22. But I recognize it's a marathon. ...

"We're going to follow through on the processes that made us successful," he added later. "We'll re-evaluate what we have now and see where we'll go. We're not doing our job if we don't evaluate it, but that doesn't mean we're going to make changes just for the sake of making changes."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.