Counsell, staff evolving, establishing routine

With long relationship with new bench coach Murphy, Brewers' manager also relying on Johnson, Subero

April 11th, 2016
First-base coach Carlos Subero and manager Craig Counsell work together on in-game defensive adjustments, including infield shifts. (Getty)

ST. LOUIS -- While Brewers players are settling into their regular-season routine, so, too, is manager Craig Counsell and his revamped coaching staff.

The grind of Spring Training has given way to the daily strategizing of the season. Counsell's staff includes three holdovers from 2015 -- hitting coach Darnell Coles, third-base coach and outfield instructor Ed Sedar and bullpen coach Lee Tunnell -- and four newcomers. They are bench coach Pat Murphy, Counsell's college coach at Notre Dame, plus pitching coach Derek Johnson, first-base coach and infield instructor Carlos Subero and assistant hitting coach Jason Lane.

Brewers' coaching staff

"We're still evolving, for sure," Counsell said. "We're going to get better at it as we go, as we get used to how our communication works during a game, the information that we value. That's still going to evolve."

Counsell has described his relationship with Murphy as "a 25-year conversation about the game," but Subero and Johnson are new to his baseball circle. Counsell and Subero work together on in-game defensive adjustments, including the Brewers' increased reliance on infield shifts, and Counsell communicates extensively with Johnson later in games about bullpen moves.

The latter relationship is particularly important. Johnson came to the Brewers from the Cubs, where he was Minor League pitching coordinator after a long career as pitching coach at Vanderbilt University.

Asked to assess Johnson's strengths so far, Counsell said, "One, is I love that he keeps things simple for pitchers. And he is incredibly conscientious. He sees things on the field once, and he gets it really fast. That's a gift. I don't want to understate that because it's a very important point. The learning curve is going to happen very fast for him. And there is a learning curve for everybody.

"The other thing is that he is a teacher. He is always thinking about teaching, always thinking about, 'How do I make this guy great at what he's good at?' That's something you'll hear him say."