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Attanasio, Stearns recall Cain, Yelich bonanza

Brewers' owner, GM talk thrill of realizing they were closing in on pair of stars
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- If you were surprised when Brewers general manager David Stearns added Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich to an already well-stocked outfield, you had company.

"You could see the Yelich trade developing and the Cain negotiations developing, and all of a sudden it looked like they were going to land at the same time," team owner Mark Attanasio said Monday before the Brewers' home opener. "I asked David, 'What do you do now? Do you back off on one in order to choose the other?'

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MILWAUKEE -- If you were surprised when Brewers general manager David Stearns added Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich to an already well-stocked outfield, you had company.

"You could see the Yelich trade developing and the Cain negotiations developing, and all of a sudden it looked like they were going to land at the same time," team owner Mark Attanasio said Monday before the Brewers' home opener. "I asked David, 'What do you do now? Do you back off on one in order to choose the other?'

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"He said 'no,' it just increases his desire to get both players."

The Brewers did get both players -- on the same Thursday in January, no less. They announced they had acquired Yelich from the Marlins on the afternoon of Jan. 25, and Stearns was in the middle of discussing the deal over the telephone with a couple of reporters when news broke of Cain's five-year, $80 million free-agent agreement.

But in reality, the Cain talks reached the finish line first. Stearns does not remember precisely when he received a signed term sheet from Cain's representatives, but it was clear by the Tuesday of that week that the sides were "in the red zone," Stearns said. All that remained was conducting a physical exam.

Video: STL@MIL: Brewers owner Attanasio on 2018 season

The Yelich trade was trickier, but the Brewers and Marlins had a significant breakthrough that same Tuesday, and Stearns suddenly felt that the sides had a chance. By Thursday, they were in agreement. Stearns would not say which of the four prospects in the final swap -- Lewis Brinson, Monte Harrison, Isan Diaz and Jordan Yamamoto -- pushed the trade to the finish line.

"We were going for both hoping we would get both," Stearns said.

Stearns sees the Brewers' four-headed outfield of Ryan Braun, Cain, Domingo Santana and Yelich -- not to mention Keon Broxton and Brett Phillips at Triple-A Colorado Springs -- not as a problem, but as depth. It's the responsibility of Brewers manager Craig Counsell to figure out the best rotation to maximize that depth.

So far, Cain and Yelich have started all four games. Braun started the first two games of the season at first base because the Brewers faced left-handed starters, then took Game 3 off and made his first start in left field for Monday's home opener, with Yelich shifting to right field and Santana moving to the bench.

Video: STL@MIL: Cain slugs first home run with Brewers

"Look, there's a challenge for that," Counsell said. "I've gone through this week already, and it's going to be a challenging week for that. The way I see it, the first weeks of the season -- when everybody is fresh -- and the last three weeks of the season -- when everybody wants to be in there and they are the biggest games of the year, hoping you're in a pennant race -- [are the challenge]. In between that, this will be pretty easy. I think keeping guys fresh will be beneficial to our offense.

"But it will be a little bit of a challenge this week. We'll have some guys who are off who don't want to be off. But it's just that there's a good player on the bench. We're not worse out on the field. There's just a good player on the bench. It will be fine. It will work out well.

"I think we'll look up at the end of the season and say, 'Thank God we had all of those guys.'"

Vogt making strides
Catcher Stephen Vogt, on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right shoulder, had another good day of plyometric drills on Monday morning before a check-up with a team doctor. Vogt hoped to soon be cleared to resume throwing.

"The pain from the initial injury has kind of subsided," Vogt said. "Now it's just kind of getting the shoulder into shape after five weeks of no throwing. Build up that progression. I went into this injury strong, and I'm still feeling very strong, so it should progress."

Last call
• How did the Brewers spend their unprecedented Sunday off-day? By gathering with their families at Miller Park for a big Easter dinner.

"[Director of team travel] Dan Larrea and the staff did an awesome job," said pitcher Chase Anderson, who brought his son, Hunter. "Easter dinner and an Easter egg hunt out here with the kids. It was definitely a big league representation of how the Milwaukee Brewers take care of families. I think that's one of the coolest things about our organization."

Video: Chase Anderson on the fun of Brewers' Easter dinner

• MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre was on hand for the Brewers' home opener. Milwaukee is a familiar place; Torre played his first six seasons here before the Braves moved to Atlanta.

"It was great to have a photo op with the Milwaukee Braves' catching tandem of Torre and [Bob] Uecker," Attanasio said. "A lot of home runs in that catching tandem."

"Yeah, I hit all of them, though," Torre said.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich