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Angels' Mike Scioscia saw managerial talent in former bench coach Ron Roenicke, now leading the Brewers

Ron Roenicke, the new manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, will lead a much-improved team, with Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum on the mound and a returning cast of sluggers.

March 05, 2011|By Kevin Baxter
  • New Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke helped the Angels to five division crowns and a World Series title, first as third base coach and then as bench coach.
New Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke helped the Angels to five division… (Morry Gash / Associated…)

Reporting from Phoenix — Ron Roenicke spent the past 11 seasons as a trusted advisor to Angels Manager Mike Scioscia. So he couldn't help but wonder how his boss would take it when Roenicke found himself sitting by the phone waiting for the Milwaukee Brewers to call and offer him their managerial job.

When the first congratulatory call came, however, it wasn't from Milwaukee. It was from Scioscia.

"I think Scioscia knew I had the job before I did," Roenicke said Saturday.

It was, after all, a move both men had been expecting. In his five years as a manager in the Dodgers' farm system, Roenicke's teams finished first twice and second once. Then he helped the Angels to five division crowns and a World Series title, first as third base coach and then as bench coach.

"I thought I would get a shot some day. I didn't think it would take this long," Roenicke said.

The wait might prove to be worth it, though, because the team he has inherited figures to contend for a championship after adding pitchers Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum without having to part with any of its offensive weapons.

"I'm really thrilled," Roenicke said. "This is really a good bunch of guys. The players are great. And the people I work with, my bosses, are great.

"So it's really been fun."

Roenicke is the third big league manager to be hired off Scioscia's staff, following Joe Maddon, who took over in Tampa Bay in 2006, and Bud Black, who went to the Padres a year later. Maddon has won two division titles and an American League pennant in the last three years, while Black had the Padres in playoff contention until the final day of the season last year.

"When we came here in 2000, putting that staff together, there were some guys that we knew were going to eventually have an opportunity to manage," Scioscia said. "And we're seeing that come to pass. When you have good baseball people and you achieve, there's other organizations that maybe haven't been going in the direction they want that are looking for somebody to bring them in the right direction.

"And we've had our share of candidates, that's for sure."

But as Roenicke roamed the outfield during batting practice Saturday, chasing down foul balls and stopping to chat with players, he looked to be a man blazing his own trail, not one following in another's footsteps.

"Actually a lot of what we did with the Angels is what I was doing when I was managing in the minors," he said. "So there wasn't that much of a change. That's what I believed too."

Short hops

Infielder Freddy Sandoval, limited to 100 games the past two years because of injury, is out for another six to eight weeks after pulling a muscle in his side during fielding drills. Sandoval was the organization's minor league player of the year in 2008. … Infielder Alberto Callaspo, slowed by a sore shoulder, began a throwing program Saturday and could be available to play on defense by the middle of the week.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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