Lopes out as Brewers manager

Thursday, April 18th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MILWAUKEE (AP) _ The Milwaukee Brewers, off to their worst start in franchise history, have fired manager Davey Lopes, The Associated Press has learned.

The Brewers called a 1 p.m. CDT news conference Thursday.

A team source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Lopes will be replaced either by pitching coach Dave Stewart or bench coach Jerry Royster.

The 3-12 Brewers have lost 10 of their last 11 games and were drawing smaller and smaller crowds at Miller Park, which opened last year and is the site of this year's All-Star game.

Lopes was in the final season of his three-year contract and had a record of 144-195-1.

Last weekend, Brewers president Wendy Selig-Prieb had indicated she was not ready to give up on Lopes, saying it was too early in the season for such a drastic change.

She had said Brewers' fans needed to be patient because of a brutal early season schedule, promising that the crowds and victories would return.

She said she had confidence in general manager Dean Taylor and in Lopes, whom she credited with retooling his coaching staff after the Brewers went 68-94 last year _ their worst record since 1984.

After last season, Lopes brought in Stewart, hitting instructor Gary Matthews and first base coach Dave Collins.

Neither Taylor or Selig-Prieb was available to comment Thursday, Brewers spokesman Jon Greenberg said.

On Monday, Lopes said it was not time to panic.

``I told you when I took this job there is no quick fix,'' Lopes said. ``People want things to happen quickly. This job, because of what we didn't inherit, because of the state, the condition of this organization when we came in, this was a minimum five- to seven-year program. Whether you want to be honest about that or not, I don't really care. All you have got to do is talk to anybody in baseball and they will tell you that.''

Lopes said Monday he wasn't the problem.

``It is not going to happen overnight. And I don't care who you put in this seat _ you can put Joe Torre in this seat, you can put Dusty Baker in this seat _ it doesn't matter. You are going to get the same results. I have no doubt about it,'' he said.

In spring training, Lopes said there were people in baseball who discouraged him from taking the Brewers' job in 2000 ``because they thought I was just setting myself up for failure. But I wanted to show them.''