Ryne Sandberg: 'Living the dream all over again'
It’s a special day here at Wrigley Field as Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg returns “home,” but as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies.
“It’s been living the dream all over again,” Sandberg said to a media gathering that was Chicago-heavy. “From working my way up through the minor leagues to getting to the major leagues as a coach and having a chance to manage, its full circle in a lot of ways. And it’s living the dream. I’m happy where I’m at.”
Ryno added it means a lot to come back here.
“It means so much, a little different view from this angle looking out,” he said. “But other than that, this is a place that was very comfortable for me as a player. It always solved any slumps that I was in as a hitter. Day baseball. I saw the ball well here. Two postseason appearances and seasons that were definitely highlights for me. Also, just watching and being part of the transformation here with the fans and people on the rooftops and the popularity of the club. All that wrapped up into a career, it was a great place to be.”
You know the story: Sandberg managed, and successfully so, for four seasons in the Cubs’ minor-league system but was passed over for the managerial job at the major-league level by both the previous and current baseball regimes here. He said he harbors no ill will.
“No, the Cubs gave me a chance to start in Peoria and gave me an opportunity to manage in the minor leagues,” he said. “I did it for four years. That’s gone a long way. Other than that, I understand how baseball works.”
Look for the Cubs to recognize Ryno in some way before the start of today’s game. The crowd reaction should be 100 percent positive toward Ryno.
“We’ll see,” he said. “If that happens, I’d imagine a little bit of goosebumps. I’ll never know it until something happens, but we’ll see what that’s like.”
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said it was only fitting for the attention to be on his managerial opponent today.
“There’s no question,” Dale said. “You’ve got a guy coming back to a place that he was a Hall of Famer and deserves a lot of attention. He had one heck of a career in Chicago, on the field, off the field, ultimate professional, and deserves all the attention he’s going to get. He’s one of the best players of all time.”
Here’s an interesting note from the Cubs: Sandberg becomes only the second person to go to the Hall of Fame as a Cub and manage against the Cubs after being enshrined. Sandberg joins Rogers Hornsby, who played for the Cubs from 1929-32 and was enshrined in 1942. He faced the Cubs while managing the Reds in 1952-53.
As far as the Cubs go, it looks like third baseman Luis Valbuena and outfielder Ryan Sweeney will come off the disabled list Sunday, which happens to be Sept. 1, when rosters can expand. Both players will go from Mesa to Kane County, where they’ll play tomorrow. The Cubs’ 40-man roster is full, and with Sweeney being on the 60-day DL, the Cubs will have to make room for him on the 40-man.
Right-hander Scott Baker is at Wrigley today. He’ll start again Labor Day for the Kane County Cougars, and the Cubs will evaluate from there. He pitched a solid 5 innings his last time out for the Cougars as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery, performed in April 2012 while he was with the Twins.
Five Cubs prospects have been named to the end-of-year all-star team in the Southern League. They play or have played for Class AA Tennessee: Arismendy Alcantara, Christian Villanueva, Javier Baez, Matt Szczur and Kyle Hendricks.
On Thursday, Tennessee allowed 1 hit in a 5-0 victory over Chattanooga. Neil Ramirez, obtained from Texas in the Matt Garza deal, worked 4.2 innings and allowed 1 hit while walking two and striking out five. Villanueva hit his 17th homer. Justin Bour had a team-high 3 RBI. Alcantara was 2-for-4, including his 35th double.
Class AAA Iowa got another nice start from Casey Coleman as the I-Cubs beat Omaha 4-2. Coleman worked 6 innings and gave up 5 hits and 2 runs. He is 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA. Edgar Gonzalez was 2-for-3 with a walk. Edwin Maysonet was 2-for-3 with a double.
Class A Daytona won its ninth straight, beating Brevard County 3-2. Corey Black, obtained from the Yankees for Alfonso Soriano, got the win, working 6 innings of 3-hit, 1-run ball while walking none and striking out six. He is 4-0 with a 2.88 ERA. He has struck out 28 in 25 innings at Daytona over 5 starts. Black leads the Florida State League with 116 strikeouts, 9 more than any other pitcher. Bijan Rademacher was 2-for-5 with a double.
The Kane County Cougars (A) lost 5-2 to Cedar Rapids. Daury Torrez took the loss. He worked 5 innings and gave up 5 hits and 3 runs. Marco Hernandez was 2-for-5.
Boise (A) fell into a first-place tie with a 10-8 loss to Salem-Keizer. Paul Blackburn got no decision, working 3 innings and giving up 4 hits and 5 runs, 1 earned. Kevin Encarnacion hit his seventh homer and extended a hit streak to 11 games, going 2-for-5. Shawon Dunston was 2-for-4 with 2 runs and 2 steals. Dan Lockhart was 2-for-3 with a walk, a run, 2 RBI and a stolen base. Carlos Penalver was 2-for-3 with 2 runs.
Mesa (Rookie) got 4 in the third to beat the Diamondbacks 8-1. Trevor Clifton worked 2 shutout innings, giving up 2 hits while walking none and striking out three. Rehabber Ryan Sweeney was 2-for-4 with a walk, 2 runs, a double and 1 RBI in his fourth game. Luis Valbuena was 3-for-4 with a run, a double, 2 RBI and 1 steal in his second game. Rafael Dolis, another rehabber, tossed a scoreless inning of relief in his third appearance.