Communication important to Sveum
Brewers manager meets with players, openly discusses status
CINCINNATI -- Once the dust had settled from Ned Yost's abrupt dismissal, acting Brewers manager Dale Sveum met individually with a number of players for sometimes blunt assessments of where they stand.Among the players who met with Sveum were second baseman Rickie Weeks and third baseman Bill Hall, who were out of the lineup in each of the first four games of Sveum's tenure, plus hitters Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, J.J. Hardy, Mike Cameron and reliever Eric Gagne. "Some of the core players," Sveum said, "I let them know what I needed out of them." The meetings were not all "hugs and kisses," Sveum said. "I guess it's just my personality to be brutally honest with people at all times, making them know how I feel and what I expect out of them, be it this year or next year," he said. "I just wanted for them to know how I felt, if I felt they needed to make some adjustments to get to the next level. "Communication, to me, is very important for these guys to understand how I think and how I feel about the game, about them personally, the adjustments, whatever it might be. I had a few guys in, six, seven guys, talked to them for 15, 20 minutes each, wanted them to know the things I needed out of them." Those meetings did not translate into early success for the Brewers, who lost four of their first five games under Sveum and Sunday were trying to avoid a three-game Reds sweep. Weeks returned to the lineup Saturday for an injured Ray Durham, and Hall figures to get some at-bats during the next homestand against two left-handed Pirates starters and perhaps the Cubs' Ted Lilly. Sveum said he developed his up-front attitude from his father, George, a former Teamsters union chief in Northern California who passed away in 1992. It also helps, Sveum said, that his own Major League playing career extended to 1999. "I was a player, not too far removed from it," Sveum said. "I know it helped me a lot to know exactly what's going to happen, what my role was, what my manager thought of me, those kind of things. That's very important to communicate and let everybody know what your feelings are, whether they like it or not. Brutal honesty sometimes hurts ... [but] you're not dealing with children now. You're dealing with grown men."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.