The Phillies announced Monday that manager Ryne Sandberg and his entire coaching staff will return to guide the Triple-A Lehigh Valley club again next year. There had been speculation that Sandberg was being considered for the major league managing vacancies in Boston, St. Louis and Chicago but none of those jobs would pan out for the Hall of Famer.
Sandberg’s staff will include Sal Rende, entering his ninth season in the organization, plus pitching coach Rod Nichols, who will be entering his 13th year with the Phillies organization.
Aaron Fultz and Andy Tracy each made solid impressions while they played within the Phillies organization. Now they will have a chance to enrich the club at the Minor League level. Tracy will serve as Class A Williamsport’s manager for the 2012 season and Fultz will serve as his pitching coach. This will be Tracy’s first managerial stint and Fultz’s first opportunity to coach at the professional level.
Along with Tracy and Fultz, the Phillies have also added Andy Abad and Lino Connell to the player development staff. Abad will serve as the club’s Minor League outfield/baserunning coordinator. Connell’s specific role has not been announced but should be similar to Abad.
Andy Tracy played in just 13 Major League games with the Phillies combined during the 2008 and ’09 seasons. While playing for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Tracy showed the leadership skills that convinced the club to believe he could serve as an effective Minor League manager.
Aaron Fultz was one of Charlie Manuel’s most utilized relievers, combining to make 128 appearances for the Phillies in 2005 and ’06. His Major League career ended after he made 49 appearances for the Indians in 2007.
After spending the past two years as Class A Clearwater’s manager, Dusty Wathan has been promoted to handle the same duties for Double-A Reading.
Chris Truby will serve as Clearwater’s manager after serving in this role for Class A Lakewood last year. Mickey Morandini, who managed the Williamsport club last year, will assume Truby’s previous duties with Lakewood.
Rumors still abound that Ryne Sandberg is being groomed to replace Charlie Manuel. Manuel (67 years of age) has a contract which expires after the 2012 season. Sandberg led the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs to a postseason berth in this first season and plans to contend for the Eastern League championship again in 2012. Should Manuel retire, Sandberg would be a prime candidate to manage the big league Phillies, along with current coaches Pete Mackanin and Juan Samuel. Terry Francona and Larry Bowa would also be mentioned among possible candidates after the 2012 season.
About the Author
Written by Christopher Rowe
Contributing writer Comcast Sports, NY Times contributing stringer 1996-2000, Contributing writer Yahoo Sports (2001 World Series). Contributing writer Newsday Long Island (1992-1994, Jets Training Camp) and Newak Star Ledger. Freelance Copywriter, Editor/Founder Atlantic Times Weekly (1993-2003) fantasy football magazine, produced screenwriter and general humorist. Hofstra University grad, Marist College honorary alum, Salesian; Purveyor of the Value and Valor of Philadelphia Eagles 1960 NFL Championship; Adrent believer that Eagles could have won Super Bowl XV...and Super Bowl XXXIX...plus modern decade of Eagles 5 NFC Championships... Believer in the Broad Street Bullies and the 1983 Sixers... Witness to Philadelphia Phillies World Series championships 1980 & 2008, Suffered Phillies first pro sports team to reach 10,000 losses,witnessed "1980 Cardiac Kids," 1983 "Wheeze Kids," 1993 "Macho Row" and many, many, many not-so-memorable seasons in-between... until the Philadelphia Baseball Renaissance of 21st Century, Five NL East division titles 2007-2011, 3 NLCS appearances 2008-2010, 2 consecutive World Series berths 2008 & 2009. 2008 World Champions of baseball [miss ya Harry and Richie]; "collector" of MLB ballparks (42 stadiums including 15 which are gone); Fantasy Football & Baseball player since 1992. Always a sports fan... Tenui Nec Dimittam Contact me email@example.com