Brewers begin pursuit of new hitting coach

Brewers begin pursuit of new hitting coach

Brewers begin pursuit of new hitting coach
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers were already preparing for the departure of hitting coach Dale Sveum before the rival Chicago Cubs announced him as their new manager on Thursday.

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin spoke via telephone earlier in the day with Sveum, who had also been in the running for the Red Sox's managerial vacancy. At that time, nothing had been finalized with the Cubs.

"I think he's ready to manage, and he gets to do it for a club he's familiar with," Melvin said.

Sveum played parts of five seasons in Milwaukee from 1986-91, a tenure interrupted by a major leg injury, and had been on the Brewers' staff since 2006 as a third-base coach, bench coach and most recently as hitting coach. He is the second former Brewer to take over a National League Central rival this week; Mike Matheny was named Cardinals skipper on Monday.

Now the Brewers need a new hitting coach, and Melvin will consult with manager Ron Roenicke before coming up with a candidate list. When Roenicke was hired by the Brewers in October 2010, he had less input, which is typical for rookie managers.

Melvin will recommend Triple-A hitting coach Sandy Guerrero, who is coming off his third season at Nashville and his ninth as a coach in Milwaukee's Minor League system.

"Sandy is a very qualified guy," Melvin said. "He's had a big role in our organization with our Minor League guys, too. He's very familiar with our players."

Melvin would not rule out discussing the job with Craig Counsell. The Brewers have said they do not intend to offer a 2012 contract to Counsell, who turned 41 last season, and Melvin wants to meet in the coming days to discuss Counsell's plans. Agent Barry Meister said Counsell had not ruled out playing in 2012.

Melvin did not anticipate getting permission to speak to coaches from other teams.

"We'll have to get on that pretty quick, because most clubs have their people tied up and you can't really get permission on a lot of guys at this point," Melvin said.