Charlie Manuel is out as Phillies manager, Ryne Sandberg named interim replacement


The Phillies have a press conference scheduled for 2:30 p.m. today and have refused to indicate what it’s about, but Jim Salisbury of knows: Charlie Manuel is out as manager.

Manuel recently won his 1,000th career game and it’s unclear if he’s being forced out or leaving on his own at age 69. He has a .551 winning percentage since taking over as the Phillies’ manager in 2005, finishing .500 or better in each season before this year and taking the team to back-to-back World Series in 2008 and 2009.

It’d be a shame if Manuel is taking the fall for the Phillies’ decline, because he’s a well-liked and extremely successful manager who certainly can’t be blamed for most of the front office decision-making that led to the deterioration of the roster.

UPDATE: Salisbury reports that third base coach Ryne Sandberg is expected to replace Manuel as manager for the remainder of this season and possibly on a full-time basis.

UPDATE: During the press conference Manuel made it clear that he was fired by general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., saying: “I did not resign. I did not quit.”

Ryan Zimmerman’s spring training has been . . . weird

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Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has played in exactly one Grapefruit league game this year, and that was way back on March 2. Since then he has been totally absent from the Nats’ big league spring games, playing instead on the back fields in sim games and in minor league contests.

While that’s not an unusual course of action for an injured or rehabbing player, both Zimmerman and the Nationals insist that there is nothing wrong with him. Per this report from MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, they’re saying that Zimmerman “simply prefers to get his work done in the more controlled environment of minor league games, where the rules are lax.” He doesn’t have to dive for balls, he can lead off every inning, etc. Manager Dave Martinez says Zimmerman simply doesn’t like the usual spring training grind and that this is working for him so he’s fine with it too.

Are you buyin’ that? Not sure I’m buyin’ that.

I suppose weirder things have happened. The Minnesota Twins once let Jack Morris go back to his farm in between starts rather than stay with the club. Other accommodations have been made for veterans, especially in spring training. But this is way more in keeping with a team hiding an injury. Though I have no idea why the Nats would choose to hide an injury to Zimmerman. They’ve talked at length about Daniel Murphy‘s knees and Adam Eaton‘s seemingly never-ending rehab. If Zimmerman has some aches and pains, you’d think they’d talk about it.

On the other hand, if this is a legit story and it is simply an accommodation for a veteran who doesn’t like the normal spring training grind, look for Zimmerman to be a trailblazer, because there are a LOT of dudes who hate spring training too and would love to change things up like this.