Friday, August 16, 2013

Phillies fire Charlie Manuel, name Ryne Sandberg interim manager

By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
@Philabaseball

Charlie Manuel, who led the Phillies to five consecutive division titles and a World Series championship, was relieved of his managerial duties on Friday. 

 "I did not resign and I did not quit," Manuel said at a news conference at Citizens Bank Park. "I think it was an agreement."

Manuel had a lengthy discussion with general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. on Wednesday afternoon when he was told of the club's decision to go in another direction. 

"I didn't see any reason to have him go through the last 40 games knowing he wasn't going to be back next year," Amaro Jr. said. "That wouldn't have been fair."

Manuel won his 1,000th career game as a big league skipper Monday in Atlanta, but the club has lost 19 of their last 23 games.

Manuel, 69, had managed the Phillies since 2005 and compiled a .550 winning percentage. He was offered a position within the organization but said he needed some time to consider returning. 

Ryne Sandberg, the Phillies' third-base coach, was named interim manager. 

Sandberg, 53, spent five seasons as a minor league manager before joining the big league club this season as a third-base coach. He was drafted by the Phillies in 1978 but went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Chicago Cubs as a second baseman.

"We are looking for someone who understands there is a process to improving this club," Amaro said. "There are so many qualities that are important, such as knowledge and energy. Charlie has always exuded a lot of them and thats why he was so successful, now it's Ryne's turn."

With Manuel's contract expiring at the end of the season, Sandberg had been rumored to be the  favorite to open next season as manager.  With the Phillies out of contention, the move at least gives Sandberg and the Phillies' front office a chance to see if their truly is a fit moving forward. 

"I think there is a possibility that Sandberg will be the man beyond 2013, but I have not made a decision one way or another," Amaro Jr. said. "We have to keep it open."

With Sandberg moving to the bench, first-base coach Juan Samuel will assume the third-base coaching duties and assistant hitting coach Wally Joyner will become the first-base coach.

As for Manuel, he plans to remain close to the game, contending he still has another few years left in him to manage. 

"I want Philadelphia fans to keep going to the yard and watching the game," Manuel said. "I think our fans will always go to the ballpark as long as we put guys on the field that want to be on the field."

Patrick Gordon is the managing editor of the Philadelphia Baseball Review.  Follow him on Twitter @Philabaseball.

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