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Owner Attanasio still confident in Yost despite recent slide

MILWAUKEE -- Despite a slide in the NL Central standings and
loud grumbling from fans, Milwaukee Brewers principal owner Mark
Attanasio gave manager Ned Yost a firm vote of confidence on
Monday.

Speaking during Monday's Brewers-Astros game at Miller Park,
Attanasio expressed surprise at the amount of criticism Yost has
received since the Brewers squandered their division lead last
month.

Given that the Brewers haven't played meaningful games in
September for years, Attanasio said he wondered why more people
weren't asking him if he'll pick up the club option in Yost's
contract for 2009.

"There's certainly no reason to think he won't be back next
year," Attanasio said.

But Attanasio stopped short of guaranteeing that Yost would
return next season, saying everything the team does is subject to
review at the end of the season.

"That's not going to change, now that we have this playoff
focus," Attanasio said.

The Brewers, who had an 8½ game lead after beating Kansas City
June 22, had a three-game winning streak snapped with a 9-7 loss to
Houston on Monday. But the division-leading Chicago Cubs lost, too,
meaning the Brewers are still 1½ games back in the standings.

Attanasio said he was as frustrated as anybody with the team's
recent slide, but said he was surprised at just how much blame the
manager was taking.

"There seems to be more day-to-day, inning-to-inning commentary
on Ned's managing than any team in the major leagues," said
Attanasio, who heads an investment management firm in Los Angeles.
"I mean, I get all the New York and Los Angeles papers, they don't
do daily commentary on how the manager's managing. And believe me,
those teams, I watch a lot of baseball games.

"We're not the only team that's had rough going here, the only
team that occasionally makes a bad play. So he just needs to do
what he's doing, which is continue to manage the team. You go in
the clubhouse, there's a very good feeling in the clubhouse."

Yost, who took over the Brewers in the 2003 season, was given a
contract extension before the 2006 season that runs through 2008,
with a club option for the following season.

Attanasio said Yost's ability to work with the Brewers' young
players is one of his best attributes.

"There is a lot of pressure," Attanasio said. "He is keeping
the guys on an even keel, and I'm looking at that every bit as much
as I would look at the win-loss record."

Asked before Sunday's game about the recent firing of Astros
manager Phil Garner that left Yost with the second-longest
managerial tenure in the division after St. Louis' Tony La Russa,
Yost said it's just a part of the job.

"It's the nature of the business," Yost said. "You go into it
knowing that, that it's a very fickle business. You just have to be
in the right spot with the right players at the right time. You've
never going to make everybody happy.

"If you can just make half the people happy, then you're doing
good. For some reason, this is the only job that everybody thinks
that they can do better than the guy that's doing it."