Craig Counsell helped the Arizona Diamondbacks win a World Series as a player, and now has the Milwaukee Brewers making progress since taking over as their manager.
Still a fan favorite in Arizona, Counsell returns for the first time in his current role Thursday night when the Brewers try to extend the Diamondbacks' rough stretch.
Counsell played for five teams and won two World Series titles, most recently during the first of two stints with the Arizona in 2001 when he was named NLCS MVP. Diamondback fans can't forget Counsell's hustle and should give him a warm reception in the series opener.
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"It's a big deal when you win a World Series," he told MLB's official website.
Though Milwaukee (42-53) remains last in the NL Central, it's 35-35 since Counsell replaced the fired Ron Roenicke in early May. The Brewers' four-game winning streak ended with Wednesday's 7-5 defeat to Cleveland, their fifth loss in the last 19 games.
"You focus on the game the next day," said Counsell, whose club has totaled 27 runs and 50 hits in the last four contests. "Everybody's done a good job of that."
The subject of trade rumors, ex-Diamondback Gerardo Parra is batting .390 in his last 28 contests.
"I'm lost for words to say about him but it's fun watching him play right now," Counsell said. "He's just been exceptional, he really has."
Parra and the Brewers get the first look at Zack Godley when he makes his major league debut for Arizona (43-50). Acquired from the Chicago Cubs in the December deal involving Miguel Montero, the right-hander was at Class A Visalia before going 1-1 with a 5.14 ERA in three starts for Double-A Mobile.
"We felt like this guy has kind of epitomized what we're trying to get through as an organization," manager Chip Hale said. "He's a big competitor and the way he pitches is kind of the way we're looking for."
Godley will try to help the Diamondbacks rebound from their eighth defeat in nine games, 5-3 to Miami on Wednesday. Paul Goldschmidt had two hits to raise his NL-leading average to .343, but he struck out with the bases loaded and nobody out in the ninth.
Arizona, which dropped a season-high seven games under .500, went 3 for 12 with runners in scoring position, and is 5 for 32 in the last four contests.
Including the postseason, Goldschmidt is batting .430 with 10 homers and 26 RBIs in 26 games against the Brewers. He homered three times while recording three straight three-hit games when Arizona took two of three at Milwaukee in May.
Goldschmidt is 2 for 6 with a double and a home run off Mike Fiers (5-7, 3.79), another potential trade candidate who has gone 2-0 with a 2.18 ERA while Milwaukee's won his last five starts. The right-hander allowed a homer, two other hits and struck out seven with a walk in seven innings of a 4-1 victory over Pittsburgh on Friday.
''Not really a secret, just being aggressive,'' Fiers said. ''Command's big. Not walking guys. Making them earn their way on. Just being aggressive, going after them and trusting in my stuff.''
He's 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA against the Diamondbacks, but last faced them in 2013.
It's uncertain if Fiers will face David Peralta after the left fielder was hit in the shoulder and head by a pitch from Jose Fernandez on Wednesday. Peralta said he passed medical tests after the game.