MILWAUKEE (AP) -Despite a recent 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 to reporters 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 the fact 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 8 1/2 game lead after beating Kansas City June 22, had a three-game losing streak snapped with a 9-7 loss to Houston on Monday. But the division-leading Chicago Cubs lost, too, meaning the Brewers are still 1 1/2 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.''

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