CINCINNATI -- At this point in the season, every game is magnified, as is every quote. While the timing of the comments couldn't have been worse, the Brewers on Friday downplayed recent statements by Prince Fielder and Francisco Rodriguez and said the ensuing public outcry has not been a distraction.
Fielder, who is a free agent following this season, said in an interview scheduled to air Sunday as part of TBS' Major League Baseball coverage that this is "probably [his] last year" in Milwaukee.
"That was a question that was going to be asked," said Brewers pitcher Chris Narveson. "The media wants the answers because the fan base wants the answers. It happens on any team. The same thing happened with the Phillies last year with Jayson Werth. It's a product of the game. As a player, you try not to think about it."
Manager Ron Roenicke said Fielder did nothing wrong and that it was the product of the Brewers participating in a pennant race with more intensive media coverage.
"The Prince thing, for me, there's nothing there," Roenicke said. "He didn't mean anything by what he said. It got blown up. He was just answering a question you guys are going to ask. He's been here a long time. He loves the city. I hope people never think he wants to leave. He likes where he is."
Rodriguez told CBSSports.com on Tuesday that he was not satisfied with his role in the Brewers' bullpen, which has netted him fewer save opportunities with John Axford as the closer. Roenicke said Rodriguez's comments came as no surprise to him.
"Frankie was just being honest about what he and I have talked about," Roenicke said. "I know where his heart is. He wants to be a closer. He's said from the get-go what he wants to do. I'm not going to disagree with him -- he's a closer. Great for us, we have two closers."
In the end, the Brewers say none of this will distract them from their goal of winning the National League Central title.
"It's not an issue for us," said Craig Counsell. "It has nothing to do with me going out and getting a hit tonight. It's not really on our radar. It's something people enjoy talking about. But as players ... especially this time of year, guys go to bed worried about winning the next game."