Phillies add Ryne Sandberg as third base coach, will go without bench coach

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Philadelphia shook up its coaching staff yesterday, firing bench coach Pete Mackanin, hitting coach Greg Gross, and first base coach Sam Perlozzo within minutes of their final game ending.

Today they announced some of the replacements, including Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg as third base coach. As part of that move Juan Samuel moves to first base coach and the Phillies have also added Steve Henderson as their new hitting coach.

Apparently manager Charlie Manuel will go without an official bench coach, which is interesting, although holdover pitching coach Rich Dubee is sort of his right-hand man by default and as a former Triple-A manager presumably Sandberg could take on some of the usual bench coach role.

Philadelphia filled out the rest of the staff with Rod Nichols as bullpen coach, moving former bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer to catching coach.

Austin Romine gets the start at catcher in ALCS Game 4

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Austin Romine is starting at catcher and batting ninth for the Yankees in today’s ALCS Game 4 versus the Astros.
Gary Sanchez is still in the lineup, but he’s the DH. That means Jacoby Ellsbury, Chase Headley and Matt Holliday are all on the bench.

Sanchez was lambasted for not holding on to the relay throw in Game 2, allowing Jose Altuve to score the winning run despite getting beat to the plate by the ball by several feet. That, combined with earlier passed balls, led some in the press to lobby for Romine to get the call behind the plate. Those calls tended to ignore the fact that Romine can’t hit a lick and that he is inferior to Sanchez when it comes to gunning down runners. Maybe a ball doesn’t skip by Romine that would have eluded Sanchez, but if I’m Jose Altuve or Alex Bregman or one of the speedier Astros, I’m running wild on Romine any time I get on base today.

The offensive knock is not quite as big a deal at the moment as it normally would be. Sanchez is in an 0-for-16 slump, but Romine isn’t replacing his bat he’s replacing either Ellsbury, Headley or Holliday. None of those guys are hitting at all, so I don’t suppose this is that big of a deal. Discuss amongst yourselves if you’d rather have a guy who is as cold as ice in the lineup who might hit versus a guy you can be pretty sure isn’t gonna hit regardless.

Either way, it’s a different look for the Yankees in Game 4.