By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Jun 12, 2011 at 4:23 PM Photography: David Bernacchi

The sun is shining, the temperatures are back to "normal" ... and the Brewers are in first place. Could it get any better than that? We'll jump right into the notes and let you ponder...

Welcome back, Cappy: Fans at Miller Park greeted Mets starter Chris Capuano with a warm ovation Tuesday night – his first trip back to Milwaukee since signing a one-year, $1.5 million deal with New York in January.

"It was a little weird ... definitely kind of strange," Capuano said. "This is pretty much the one clubhouse that I'm not familiar with it. It was all kind of familiar but different at the same time."

Capuano returned to the majors last season after missing all of the two previous seasons while undergoing and recovering from his second Tommy John surgery. At one time, Capuano was one of the young stars of the system, winning 18 games in 2005 and taking a 10-4 record into the All-Star break in '06.

His start led to a spot on the National League roster, but Capuano did not pitch in the game. After the break, things quickly fell apart and he finished the season 11-12 with a 4.03 ERA.

In 2007, he started out 5-0 with a 2.31 ERA through seven starts but went 0-12 with a 6.08 ERA over his final 22 outings.

He finally returned last year, finishing 4-4 with a 3.95 ERA in 24 appearances. In nine starts, Capuano was 3-3 with a 4.14 ERA and out of the bullpen, he allowed eight runs in 20.1 innings of work.

Capuano was pleased with his performance but admitted that he was just happy to be back.

"Mostly it was just fun to be out there competing and feeling good," he said.

Capuano got off to a bit of a slow start this season and carried a 3-6 record and 5.19 ERA into his Milwaukee return. Quickly, though, he showed fans glimpses of what they'd missed over the past few years, allowing just one run – a Prince Fielder home run – on six hits with five strikeouts over six innings as the Mets beat the Brewers, 2-1.

"(There were) a lot of emotions before the game," Capuano said. "(The ovation) was unexpected. Really, I shouldn't have been surprised. The people here have always been great, so nice and gracious but it still kind of caught me off guard a little."

Capuano took the mound again Sunday at Pittsburgh and put together another good outing, scattering three hits over seven scoreless innings in a 5-0 Mets victory.

There certainly were better players in Milwaukee during Capuano's time but few were more respected. It's a shame that things couldn't work out here but it's nice to see a good guy who has worked hard do well.

First place ... again: A 4-3 victory Sunday over St. Louis put the Brewers back in first place, by themselves, for the first time since July 4, 2009.

Still, manager Ron Roenicke says it's way too early to make that big of a deal over a half-game lead on the division.

"How many games do we have left," Roenicke asked during his post-game press conference Sunday. "This was a great series. It's huge confidence-builder for our guys. But it's still too early."

He's right. Sure, first place is exciting but those leads can disappear in a hurry – as we've seen happen here many times before. Enjoy it, relish it but remember ... a lot of baseball remains to be played.

Congrats, Bob: Former U.S. National soccer team coach Bob Gansler was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame last week.

Gansler's career has included stops at Marquette High (1973-76), UWM (1984-88), the old Milwaukee Rampage of the A-League (1996-98) and the Kansas City Wizards of MLS (1999-2006).

He helped establish the foundation for the modern version of the U.S. men's national team, coaching several national youth programs in the '70s and '80s and was named head coach of the senior team in 1989.

Gansler led a team of amateur and collegiate players into the 1990 World Cup – the first time the U.S. qualified since 1950. The Americans failed to win a game during the '90 Cup, but that team helped pave the way for the American soccer we know today and Gansler played a big role in the sport's development here.

Larry King Lounge: Is this Steve Stricker's best chance at winning a major? ... Two of the Packers' 2010 games were among the 20 best of the season, according to voters at while a panel of writers rated Lambeau Field as the league's toughest venue for opposing teams ... Nine University of Wisconsin coaches had their contracts extended through at least 2014 including women's hockey coach Mark Johnson, whose contract now runs through 2016 ... the Bucks will continue pre-draft workouts this week at the Cousins Center in St. Francis. The 2011 NBA Draft will be held June 23.