Sandberg could return to the organization

Ryne Sandberg, who at one point looked like a shoe-in to get the Cubs managerial job, could find his way back to the Phillies organization. Long-time fans will remember that Sandberg was a throw-in when the Phillies traded Larry Bowa to the Chicago Cubs to get Ivan DeJesus in return. That deal has long haunted Phillies fans, but they could get their chance to welcome Sandberg back to the organization in one of a couple scenarios.

The most likely scenario would bring Sandberg back as the Phillies Triple-A manager at Lehigh Valley. Sandberg held down the manager’s office for Triple-A Iowa this past season after working his way through the Cubs organization as a minor league manager. The Iowa Cubs went 82-62 under Sandberg, who was awarded with the Manager of the Year honors in the Pacific Coast League.

The Phillies fired IronPigs manager Dave Huppert at the end of the 2010 season after three disappointing seasons. While the Phillies may prefer to have Sandberg take over the reins at Lehigh Valley, it’s likely that Sandberg would have a different job in mind.

While Sandberg has said that he doesn’t have interest in re-signing with the Cubs organization, he has also said that he would prefer a major league coaching job over spending more time in the minors. If the Phillies are serious about bringing him into the organization, it’s possible that the best way for them to do that would be to hire him as their first base coach at the major league level. It’s likely that the Phillies will go with a minority candidate to fill that role and former Phillies Mariano Duncan and Juan Samuel have both been mentioned.

The Phillies also have an opening for a Double-A manager at Reading, where Steve Roadcap was last season. The Phillies are reassigning Roadcap for 2011 and as of now, Lakewood manager Mark Parent and Clearwater manager Dusty Wathan appear to have the front-runner spot for the job in Reading.

Other candidates for the Lehigh Valley job are believed to be Phillies minor league hitting instructor Sal Rende or possibly either Parent or Wathan.

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