Former IronPigs manager Ryne Sandberg (Yong Kim/Inquirer Staff)
PHILADELPHIA — Yesterday, the Phillies fired first base coach Sam Perlozzo as well as cut ties with hitting coach Greg Gross and bench coach Pete Mackanin.
With those spots vacated it left room for a certain minor league manager to get his first real crack at Major League coaching.
Hall of Fame second baseman and former IronPigs manager Ryne Sandberg will coach third base. Last year’s third base coach Juan Samuel will move to first base.
Sandberg will also become the infield instructor, which was Perlozzo’s job.
This move is a huge step for Sandberg, who wants to manage a Major League club very soon. Many speculated that Sandberg would become the next manager of the Phillies once Charlie Manuel is set to retire. (Manuel’s contract is up after the 2013 season.)
UPDATE: Manuel will not declare that 2013 is his final year but isn’t seeking a contract extension any time soon. Ruben Amaro also said Sandberg wasn’t promised the next Phillies managerial spot and is allowed to pursue other managing positions.
In his two years as manager in Lehigh, Sandberg compiled a 155-132 record, including a franchise best 80-64 record and first ever championship berth in 2011.
But despite the Phillies adding Sandberg to the coaching staff for 2013, he can still interview with other teams for a vacant managerial spot this winter. The will Phillies hope that Sandberg is willing to wait one more year.
REST OF THE MOVES — The Phillies moved third base coach Juan Samuel from third base to first base.
–Mick Billmeyer moved from bullpen coach to catcher’s coach. Rod Nichols will take his place as the bullpen coach.
Nichols had been a Minor League mentor to a Phillies pitching prospects so he will have a familiarity with some of the relievers who could be with the Phillies next year.
–A day after the Phillies let go hitting coach Greg Gross, they promoted Steve Henderson as the new hitting coach.
Henderson was a hitting coach in Tampa Bay from 2007-09 and was a Minor League hitting instructor in the Phillies system the last two years.
The Phillies will plan to hire an assistant hitting coach as well.
–The Phillies do not have a bench coach assigned, but it’s believed the Billmeyer and pitching coach Rich Dubee will fill in at that role unofficially.