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Maddon disappointed friend Roenicke let go

MILWAUKEE -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon was surprised that he wouldn't be seeing longtime friend and former coaching colleague Ron Roenicke in the Brewers dugout this series.

Roenicke, who coached for six seasons with Maddon on the Angels' staff, was fired last Sunday night after the Brewers had just won two of three from the Cubs for their first series win of the season.

"I talked to him at length behind the batting cage at Wrigley," Maddon said before Saturday night's game at Miller Park. "We were talking and I really, truly believe he had no idea anything was on the horizon from those conversations."

Even after winning last weekend in Chicago, the Brewers were mired at 7-18 when Roenicke was dismissed. The worst start in franchise history came on the heels of last season's collapse, which saw the Brewers lead the National League Central for 150 days before losing 22 of their last 31 games to miss the playoffs.

The Brewers won the division title under Roenicke in 2011 at 96-66, a franchise record for victories, but slipped to 83-79 in 2012 and 75-88 in 2013.

"Ronnie's outstanding. He's one of the best coaches I've ever been around," Maddon said. "As a manager, over .500 record here for the last several years. He does a wonderful job. But, working with him on a coaching staff, he's one of the best coaches I've ever worked with.

"He's a really good friend. I know it's going to work out well for him. I know it's kicking his butt right now, I know it is. We've texted and I'll give him a call soon."

Maddon said he also talked to new Brewers manager Craig Counsell at the start of this series.

"I also wanted to make sure I congratulated Craig yesterday on his opportunity," Maddon said. "I'm sure he feels awful about how it came about, but you can't worry about that. That's the way this world works and that's the way this industry works when you get this opportunity, regardless of how it showed up."

Jim Hoehn is a contributor to
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