Counsell recalls vying to be Rays manager

August 5th, 2017
Craig Counsell entered Saturday 192-218 in parts of three seasons as Milwaukee's manager. (Getty Images)Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Brewers' return to Tropicana Field offered a reminder that Craig Counsell was once in the running to manage the Rays.

Counsell was among 10 candidates to succeed Joe Maddon after the 2014 season, taking part in a formal telephone interview as well as a more informal meeting with Tampa Bay officials during the General Managers Meetings in Phoenix that November before informing them of his decision to remain with the Brewers. At the time, Counsell was a special assistant to Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin.

"I don't know if anything would have gone further," Counsell said. "But at that time, it wasn't the right fit for me."

In the end, Counsell's call turned out all right. He took over as manager of his hometown Brewers a month into the 2015 season after Ron Roenicke was relieved of his duties, launching the Brewers' rebuild. That process is ahead of schedule in Counsell's second full season at the helm.

The Rays, meanwhile, went with Kevin Cash, who has led Tampa Bay to a rebound of its own this season. After losing 94 games a year ago, the Rays entered Saturday one-half game behind the Royals in the race for the second American League Wild Card spot.

"That's in the rearview mirror, for sure," Counsell said of his brief candidacy with the Rays. "It was a good experience to go through it. They have done a really good job over the last decade, with limited resources, of putting together competitive teams. That's interesting to me to start out with. I don't think this organization [the Rays] has gotten enough credit for the constraints they have and how competitive they've been. I've always admired that."

Worth noting

• Brewers right-hander Chase Anderson, on the 10-day disabled list with a left oblique strain, will begin a Minor League rehabilitation assignment on Tuesday, Counsell said. His destination is to be determined, but it is notable that Class A Wisconsin is home that night.

• Injured catcher began to test his left knee by catching pitchers' throwing sessions on Saturday. Vogt is progressing toward his own rehab assignment.

's 10th home run on Friday night gave the Brewers eight players with double-digit homers, tied with the Dodgers, Orioles and Rangers for second most in the Majors. The Astros have 11 players with double-digit home runs.

It marks the second straight season and the seventh time in franchise history that the Brewers have had eight players in double digits (also 2001, '03, '07, '08, '13). They have never had nine, though that could change this year, with (eight home runs) and (seven) approaching double digits.

"Coming out of spring, that's the reason we felt like we had a chance to have an offense that could score a lot of runs," Counsell said. "We felt there was depth to the lineup, and 'damage' depth, power depth, slugging depth. It's important. I think it gives you an ability to be more consistent scoring runs."