Ryne Sandberg isn't giving up on his dream to manage in the big leagues. He is reportedly among the candidates for the Phillies' managerial vacancy at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
"I'm committed to baseball and what I'm doing," Sandberg told the Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald. "My goal is to reach the Majors again, just like everyone else in the Minor Leagues. But I want to coach and teach -- and continue to do that, whether it's in the Minors or the Majors. I'm committed to that. I always have been. I never stopped."
Sandberg's agent Jim Turner told the Daily Herald: "Ryne felt it was in his best interests, and [Cubs] ownership's best interests, to not accept the job at [Triple-A] Iowa. He did not want ownership or the fans or Mike Quade to feel he was sitting there waiting for a disappointing result and an ax to fall in Chicago. That's not how he's built."
Sandberg has talked to the Ricketts family about pursuing other managerial openings. Cubs GM Jim Hendry did give Sandberg the option of returning to Triple-A Iowa, but he chose not to. Sandberg is under contract with the Cubs until Dec. 31, but the team will not get in the way of his pursuit of a job.
"He was always welcome to do whatever he wanted," Hendry said on Tuesday night.
Could Sandberg manage in the Phillies system? Sure.
"By not accepting the Des Moines job, Ryne's sending a clear signal to the 29 other teams," Turner said. "He's serious about reaching his goal, and that goal can be reached with any Major League team."
Sandberg, 51, has spent the last four years in the Cubs' Minor League system, managing Triple-A Iowa last year. He was named Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year after leading the Iowa Cubs to a tie for first at 82-62. Sandberg was a candidate for the Cubs' managing job, but Hendry picked Quade, who led the team to a 24-13 record in the final six weeks of the regular season.
Sandberg does have ties to the Phillies. He began his career with the team, which selected the infielder in the 20th round of the 1978 Draft. He was included in the '82 deal which sent shortstop Larry Bowa to the Cubs in exchange for shortstop Ivan DeJesus.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.