MILWAUKEE (AP) -Carlos Lee was all smiles around former Brewers teammates Geoff Jenkins and Bill Hall. Meanwhile, Lee's new manager, Phil Garner, compared him to some of the past greats in Milwaukee.
``He's a very even-tempered guy,'' said Garner, who managed Milwaukee from 1992-99. ``Robin Yount was this way, Paul Molitor was the way, some of the great pitchers I've had, they're very even-tempered.''
Lee was traded from Milwaukee to the Texas Rangers on July 28 in a six-player deal that brought outfielder Kevin Mench and reliever Francisco Cordero to the Brewers. The slugger left Texas in the offseason through free agency and signed a six-year, $100 million deal with Houston.
The Brewers had offered Lee a four-year deal before trading him, saying they did not receive a counteroffer. Lee said he tried to come to an agreement.
``The team made a good effort to try and keep me here, and I don't blame them,'' he said before the Astros played the Milwaukee Brewers Friday night. ``But we've got to be realistic, they couldn't offer me the six-year deal I was looking for, so I had to go.''
Garner said Lee has been sharp both in his decision to test the market and his play so far with the Astros.
``Carlos is very smart, he understands the business side of the game and didn't take it personally. He knew if they could meet his numbers, they could do something, if they couldn't, he would move on.''
Lee came into the game tied for the NL lead in RBIs with 17 but was hitless in his last seven at-bats, dropping his early season average to .296.
``My definition of a good hitter is a guy who knows what the game situation is and knows how to produce a swing that gets you the kind of the results you want,'' Garner said. ``He knows what's got to be done.''
The fans overwhelmingly booed Lee in his first at bat, with signs in the crowd that read ``Carlos Who?'' Lee responded with a first-pitch single and a stolen base. He said before the game he would understand if fans reacted negatively.
``They've got to understand that it's a game, but at the same time it's a business,'' Lee said. ``The way I got traded, I went out and went on the market is the same way that a team releases a player. It's no different, it's the business part of the game and sometimes you've got to look for your best interests.''
Lee said that he loved his time in Milwaukee and made some lasting memories in his season and a half with the Brewers.
``Coming here is like coming home again, seeing these guys again, joking around, it's fun.''
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