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Attanasio addresses Brewers, and ST future

Team owner talks to club; also discusses desire for state-of-the-art spring facility
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

PHOENIX -- Manager Craig Counsell's message prior to the Brewers' first full-squad workout Thursday was short and direct. It hit the mark for one of Counsell's most important constituents.

"He focuses on the guys staying connected and really being the best they can each be," said Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, who also addressed the team as part of a Day 1 tradition. "Frankly, that's a message that works in any business, so I'm going to take some of that message back to our investment firm.

PHOENIX -- Manager Craig Counsell's message prior to the Brewers' first full-squad workout Thursday was short and direct. It hit the mark for one of Counsell's most important constituents.

"He focuses on the guys staying connected and really being the best they can each be," said Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, who also addressed the team as part of a Day 1 tradition. "Frankly, that's a message that works in any business, so I'm going to take some of that message back to our investment firm.

"He talked about the players playing for each other, rather than maybe with each other. We know teams that play together in that way are hard to beat, and I think this team has a chance to do that. There's a lot of energy right now."

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Attanasio knows that energy alone will not carry the Brewers through their current rebuilding period. In his open letter to fans during the offseason, he explained why the team was taking a step back to stockpile prospects, and asked for patience while the team breaks in young players at the Major League level.

Attanasio indulged another Spring Training tradition by discussing the Brewers' future at Maryvale Baseball Park.

Video: Attanasio gives update on Maryvale Complex

The Brewers are near the front end of a series of one-year options at Maryvale, which has been their spring home since it opened in 1998. Today, the Brewers are one of only three teams in the 15-member Cactus League (the Cubs and Angels are the others) that do not share the facility with another club, and have a Minor League complex and practice fields on the same site as the main stadium. Those are significant positives, club officials have said.

But despite upgrades to the Minor League building and a modest expansion of the Major League weight room in recent years, the Brewers are feeling cramped in the main building on the site.

"We are hoping to maybe do something with the city here," Attanasio said. "We like the location. It's just time for the sides to come together, and either we do something or we don't. I'm hoping we can do something.

"[Brewers GM David Stearns] and [assistant GM Matt Arnold] are very focused on technology, for example, and we don't have the ability with the facilities now to really optimize all the new training methods. We've got to be able to do that, especially with all the young players we have.

"We've got to get to a state-of-the art facility, either here or somewhere else, in the next few years. And I mean be moved in and operating."

Quietly in recent years, Brewers executive vice president of finance and administration Bob Quinn and other officials explored alternate sites. The Brewers' stated preference is to stay in Arizona, where weather and the proximity of teams is superior to Florida. But Attanasio, who lives in Los Angeles, indicated that relocation was on the table.

"I think the way we're going to work this is we're going to try to work something here [at Maryvale Baseball Park], he said. "But we're going to have a deadline, and if it doesn't work -- I never thought that I would be looking seriously at Florida, but in order for us to compete, we've got to have a state-of-the-art facility."

Tweet from @Brewers: And they're off! First full squad #CactusCrew workout is under way! #Brewers ⚾️��☀️ pic.twitter.com/1pE0pG21qA

Attanasio spoke as Brewers pitchers and infielders took part in a fielding drill behind him. Those players were out on the field significantly earlier than on previous Day 1s, thanks to a shorter morning briefing in which Attanasio, Stearns and Counsell all said a few words and made introductions.

Then it was, "Let's get on the field and play baseball," Counsell said.

His primary message to players?

"Prepare," Counsell said. "We have a large group of players who are at that point where [they need to] translate that talent into success at the Major League level."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Milwaukee Brewers