Brewers Keep Manager Garner

Brewers manager Phil Garner and two of his coaches, Jim Lefebvre and Bill Castro, will be back next season but other members of the coaching staff will be replaced after this year's dismal finish.

"I think (Garner) is still the right man for the job," general manager Sal Bando said. "He's guided us through a long rebuilding process and I think he's still the manager to take us to the next level, even though we had a setback this season."

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  • There had been speculation that the Brewers might fire Garner instead of bringing him back for the final year of his contract in 1999. The Brewers were 74-88 in their seventh season under Garner, their sixth straight losing season overall. It was Milwaukee's worst finish since 1995.

    But Bando said Garner would return, along with Lefebvre, who was brought in as batting coach in mid-August, and Castro, who has been bullpen coach since 1992.

    Lefebvre will remain as batting coach, but Castro's job title hasn't been set.

    "What hurt us were some of the key pitchers," Bando said. "Cal Eldred first having a poor first half and then breaking down, and then not ever getting Jeff D'Amico back and then Jose Mercedes, who had a good year last year.

    "And then on the offensive side -- David Nilsson and John Jaha not being able to have just a normal season that they've had in the past hurt us in the middle of the lineup," he said. `I think that's really the focus of the club's failures."

    Bando was asked what free agents he planned to pursue.

    "Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Mark McGwire and Hank Aaron," he said, prompting a round of laughter from reporters. "We're going to see if Hank wants to come back."

    Bando's own contract expires at the end of October, although it is expected to be renewed by Wendy Selig-Prieb, who has taken over as president of the team from her father, baseball commissioner Bud Selig.

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