Brewers owner denies team isn't playing hard

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Mark Attanasio has provided the Brewers a mid-level $91 million payroll despite playing in the MLB's smallest market. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Owner Mark Attanasio has provided the Brewers a mid-level budget despite playing in the MLB's smallest market. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The Brewers' disappointing start to the 2013 season -- 18-27 and tied for last in the NL Central with the Cubs -- hasn't shaken owner Mark Attanasio's confidence in manager Ron Roenicke, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

Attanasio defended his manager and his players after a scout who recently watch the Brewers during a home stand said:

... The Brewers players don't appear to be putting put out maximum effort. More times than they should, the scout said, they'd make a 90-degree turn toward the dugout before even reaching the first-base bag on groundouts. He didn't say it was everyone, just too many guys.

“I haven't heard that from the GM or manager. The guys may be a little down. But I saw them before (Wednesday's game), and there was a lot of energy and enthusiasm. That was a very spirited dugout,'' Attanasio said in a phone interview with “One thing I like about (manager) Ron Roenicke, the players play hard for him. That has not been the issue.''

Attanasio then made a joke abut how there's actually been a little too much hustling, a reference to the chance-taking Carlos Gomez, the hot hitter known for occasional gaffes who was just thrown out at third base, down 6-0, in the Dodgers game they'd lose 9-2.

Anyway, Attanasio decided, “I don't know what that the scout saw. I did not see that.'' What he saw, he said, was Ryan Braun climbing the wall to rob Adrian Gonzalez of a home run, then homering himself, while down 7-zip.

Attanasio has been applauded for a $91 million payroll that's considered generous considering the team plays in the league's smallest market. He has showed his willingness to spend on free agents with the $33 million over three years he gave pitcher Kyle Lohse -- a move general manager Doug Melvin shied away from. (Did Melvin remind Attanasio how former boss and Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks went against his recommendation to sign Chan Ho Park to a poorly conceived deal in 2003?)

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The Brewers also brought back former top-shelf, but troubled closer Francisco Rodriguez.