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Brewers dismiss Triple-A manager

Brewers dismiss Triple-A manager

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PHILADELPHIA -- The Brewers dismissed Triple-A manager Frank Kremblas earlier this week after a 59-81 season, the first in Kremblas' four years in Nashville that the team did not win a division title.

Kremblas was told that Brewers officials didn't see him getting an opportunity to coach in the big leagues, so they decided to let him seek that opportunity elsewhere. The team does not plan to make a formal announcement until next week, assistant general manager Gord Ash said, but Kremblas was told early so he could begin his search immediately.

According to a former Nashville player now with the Brewers, hitting coach Harry Spilman also was let go. Pitching coach Stan Kyles has been told his job is safe, the player said.

"I appreciated the opportunity," said Kremblas, who got the news directly from Ash. "What else am I going to say? Honestly, I am not upset. But it was news to me."

Ash said the team had not made a decision on Kremblas' replacement. One candidate would be Double-A manager and former Brewers All-Star Don Money, who replaced Kremblas at Double-A Huntsville in 2005.

Kremblas said he already has "his resume out there," and has a meeting scheduled with one of the Brewers' National League Central rivals scheduled for next week.

It's an impressive resume. Kremblas started managing in Montreal's farm system in 1998 and joined Milwaukee in 2000, when he took over at Class A Mudville after the All-Star break. He moved up to Class A High Desert in 2001, then to Huntsville in '02 and Nashville in '05.

In Kremblas' eight full seasons as one of Milwaukee's Minor League managers, his teams posted losing records twice. He led Huntsville to the 2003 Southern League Championship series, when won the Triple-A championship in '05.

"Pretty much every guy in here has played for Frank at some point," said Sounds and now Brewers outfielder Tony Gwynn, Jr., pointing at players like Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, J.J. Hardy, Rickie Weeks and Manny Parra. "He has been inspirational to all of us, so you really hate to see him go."

Hart may have played for Kremblas the longest, parts of four seasons.

"It's surprising that he would be let go after one bad season," Hart said. "He's a great manager, a great baseball guy."

Kremblas was passed over for openings on Milwaukee's Major League coaching staff in each of the last two offseasons. Kremblas was the strongest internal candidate after the Brewers parted ways with third-base coach Nick Leyva following the 2007 season, but the team instead made the last-minute decision to hire Ted Simmons to be the bench coach, and moved Dale Sveum back to third base.

Kremblas was also a candidate for the third-base coaching vacancy after the 2006 season. But when the Brewers decided to promote from within to name Jim Skaalen hitting coach and Ed Sedar to coach first base, they tabbed Leyva at third because he had Major League managerial experience.

That left Kremblas managing in a tough situation in Nashville, where political wrangling killed the team's plans to build a new stadium.

"It's not a good place to go to the yard and play baseball, that's for sure," Gwynn said. "They finally built us a makeshift clubhouse behind the wall in the outfield, but you look at the numbers and we were way better on the road than at home. By far.

"But Frank's best strength is managing personalities and making players forget about their surroundings and just play. He was huge for me from that standpoint, understanding the mental part of the game. I come from a baseball background, and he was big for me. I'm sure most of the younger guys in here would tell you the same thing."

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

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