It long seemed Sandberg was in line to manage the team with which he became a Hall of Famer, but instead he'll be in the opposing dugout Friday for his first game at Wrigley as a manager as he leads the Philadelphia Phillies against the Cubs.
"I'm sure he'll get a standing ovation," Cubs manager Dale Sveum told the team's official website. "... It'll be a nice moment for him to come back, after getting his first job, and a couple weeks after he gets it, he comes to Chicago for the first time."
One of the best and most beloved players in franchise history, Sandberg had his No. 23 retired by Chicago in 2005 after a 15-year career which included 10 All-Star appearances and nine consecutive Gold Gloves.
"I guess the first thing (back at Wrigley) is I'll probably check out my flag out there on the right-field pole," the former second baseman told the Phillies' website.
He began coaching in the Cubs' minor league system in 2007 and eventually moved up to Triple-A Iowa, winning PCL manager of the year in 2010.
The Cubs' managerial job was available that offseason following Lou Piniella 's retirement, but former general manager Jim Hendry went with Mike Quade. Quade was let go after one year as Theo Epstein took over, but the new team president told Sandberg he wasn't being considered for manager despite many fans wanting him at the helm.
Chicago (56-77) has baseball's second-worst record since Sveum took over.
Sandberg managed the Phillies' Triple-A team for two years before becoming Philadelphia's third-base coach this season, and he was handed the head job on an interim basis after Charlie Manuel was fired Aug. 16. The Phillies (61-73) have gone 8-6 since the change.
"He never expected any more than what you could give him, and as long as you were giving him that, he was fine," said Jeff Samardzija , who pitched for Sandberg at Iowa and will go against him Friday.
Though Samardzija is the reigning NL co-player of the week following two impressive starts, there's probably more interest in how this game's other starter will perform.
Roy Halladay (3-4, 7.81 ERA) will make his second start since spending more than three months on the disabled list following shoulder surgery. The two-time Cy Young Award winner won his return Sunday, giving up two runs and four hits in six innings of a 9-5 victory over Arizona.
"Each time out I'm progressing back to where I was," Halladay said after his first win since April 19.
Halladay's 2-5 record against the Cubs is his worst versus any opponent, though he has a lifetime 3.68 ERA against them.
Samardzija (8-11, 4.03) has been a bright spot lately for Chicago, loser of 13 of 17, and now looks to win three straight starts for the first time.
Five days after going the distance in an 11-1 win over Washington, Samardzija surrendered two runs in eight innings of a 3-2 victory at San Diego on Saturday. The right-hander had gone 0-2 with a 9.39 ERA through his first three games of August.
One of those starts came in Philadelphia and was possibly the worst of his career, ripped for nine runs and 11 hits in 3 1-3 innings of a 12-1 defeat Aug. 8.
Darin Ruf homered and singled off him that day but is 2 for 16 with no extra-base hits since homering in three straight games.
Chase Utley doubled twice off Samardzija earlier this month and has hit .432 in his last 10 games at Wrigley, where the Cubs have dropped 16 of 19.
The Phillies have lost 15 of 18 on the road.
|August 28, 2013||Cody Asche||Day-to-Day||Strained left hamstring|
|August 26, 2013||Casper Wells||15-Day DL||Vision complications|
|August 17, 2013||Michael Young||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore left ankle|
|August 15, 2013||John Lannan||15-Day DL||Left knee tendinitis|
|August 14, 2013||John Lannan||Day-to-Day||Knee|
|July 29, 2013||Jonathan Pettibone||60-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
|August 08, 2013||Matt Guerrier||60-Day DL||Right elbow soreness|
|August 08, 2013||Thomas Neal||60-Day DL||Dislocated right shoulder|
|August 07, 2013||Thomas Neal||Day-to-Day||Dislocated right shoulder|
|August 07, 2013||Dioner Navarro||Day-to-Day||Right ankle contusion|
|August 03, 2013||Luis Valbuena||15-Day DL||Right oblique strain|
|July 15, 2013||Brian Bogusevic||15-Day DL||Left hamstring strain|
CHICAGO (AP) -- Roy Halladay had trouble gripping the ball in the steamy conditions, Domonic Brown 's sore right heel started to bother him again and the Philadelphia Phillies just kept plugging away.
It turned into the perfect homecoming for Ryne Sandberg .
Michael Young had four hits, including a tiebreaking RBI single in the ninth inning, and the Phillies rallied for a 6-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Friday in Sandberg's return to Wrigley Field.
"It's a good one to get. Sure, down 5-0 out of the chute," Sandberg said. "The guys battled back. Good energy after that. Anytime you rally to come back like that it goes well with the guys. But yeah, extra special."
Kevin Frandsen had two hits and scored two runs after entering in the sixth, helping Philadelphia bounce back from Thursday's 11-3 loss to the New York Mets . Chase Utley added a key two-run triple.
The Phillies improved to 9-6 since Sandberg was promoted to interim manager when Charlie Manuel was fired on Aug. 16. The Hall of Fame second baseman spent most of his playing career with the Cubs and was cheered all day long in his first trip to Chicago since he was elevated to the top spot in Philadelphia.
"The four hits from Young and the home run from Frandsen, I had some flashbacks," Sandberg cracked.
Anthony Rizzo and Nate Schierholtz homered for the Cubs, who went 3 for 10 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners on base. Starlin Castro had two doubles and two RBIs in Chicago's fourth loss in five games.
"We can't get a big hit to seal the deal," manager Dale Sveum said. "To add on runs is what you preach. We just couldn't add on."
Roger Bernadina used his speed to set up Young's winning hit. He was hit by a pitch from Kevin Gregg (2-4) with one out, swiped second and raced home when Young's blooper landed in front of Schierholtz in right field.
"Fortunately it found a patch of grass out there," Young said. "I've faced him a lot over the years and he's got good stuff. The only thing I was really trying to do was keep my approach relatively simple."
B.J. Rosenberg (1-0) pitched a scoreless inning for the win and Jonathan Papelbon got three outs for his 23rd save. Utley made a great diving stop and throw on Schierholtz's grounder to second to end the game.
The victory wiped away some of the sting of Brown's nagging foot problem. The All-Star, who just returned to the lineup Thursday, was lifted in the sixth due to a sore right Achilles and is day to day.
The Cubs built a 5-0 lead against a struggling Halladay, but Jeff Samardzija was unable to hold on for his third consecutive victory. Philadelphia scored four times in the sixth after Frandsen's sinking liner got past diving center fielder Junior Lake for a pinch-hit triple.
Samardzija finally got out of the inning when Darin Ruf grounded into a double play, but Frandsen lined an 0-1 pitch into the bleachers in left with two out in the seventh, tying it at 5.
"It got away from me a little bit, a couple of hits," Samardzija said.
James Russell came on with two on and two out and got Utley to fly out to left, closing Samardzija's line. He gave up eight hits and walked two in his worst start since he lasted just 3 1-3 innings in a 12-1 loss at Philadelphia on Aug. 8.
Chicago had a chance to go back in front in the bottom half, but Dioner Navarro was thrown out when he tried to score from second on Darnell McDonald 's pinch-hit single. John Mayberry 's throw from right field bounced a couple times and still beat the lumbering catcher to the plate, drawing groans from the crowd of 27,753.
"We can't catch a break today," Navarro said.
Halladay made his second start since he had right shoulder surgery in May. The two-time Cy Young Award winner pitched six effective innings in a 9-5 victory over Arizona on Sunday, but he struggled right from the beginning against the Cubs.
Halladay said he had trouble holding onto the ball due to the muggy day in Chicago. The gametime temperature was 91 degrees.
"After about the fourth inning, you would try to dry it off and it would come right back and would just drip right off," he said. "After that point, it was just kind of hard to hold on to it."
Rizzo connected for his 21st homer in the first inning, and Halladay hit consecutive batters in the second. He threw a ball behind Lake during Chicago's three-run fourth, drawing a stare from the rookie outfielder.
The right-hander allowed five runs and seven hits in five innings while throwing only 77 pitches.
"I had more of an issue holding on to the ball late in the game than anything," he said. "My arm felt good, shoulder felt good, nothing different there."
NOTES: Philadelphia announced during the game that it had reached a $12 million, three-year contract with Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez . It includes an option for 2017, a signing bonus and performance bonuses. Gonzalez will report to Philly's spring training complex in Clearwater, Fla. ... Phillies 3B Cody Asche rested for the second straight day after he left Wednesday's 6-2 victory at the New York Mets with a cramp and a mild right hamstring strain.---
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap