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

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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 CSNPhilly.com 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.”

The Cards dealt Stephen Piscotty to the A’s, in part, so he could be near his ailing mother

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Last night we wrote about the rumored deal between the Cardinals and the Athletics for Stephen Piscotty. The deal is now official, with Piscotty going to Oakland for minor leaguers Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock.

Something else emerged about the deal today: a big reason why St. Louis traded Piscotty to Oakland as opposed to another team was so that he could be near his mother, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease last May. Piscotty and his family are from Pleasanton, California, about 35 miles from Oakland.

Here’s Cardinals GM John Mozeliak:

This was certainly a baseball trade — Piscotty became expendable for the Cardinals after they acquired Marcell Ozuna yesterday — but it was one which could’ve been made with any team with a couple of red or white chip prospects. That Mozeliak considered Piscotty’s personal situation in making the deal with the A’s is a credit to him and his staff.

The 26-year-old Piscotty hit .235 with nine homers and 39 RBIs in 107 games last season. He has hit .268 with 38 homers and 163 RBIs in 2+ major league seasons. He agreed to a six-year, $33.5 million contract extension last spring.

As for the prospects in return: Munoz, 22, hit .300 with 13 homers and 68 RBIs this year for Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville. Schrock, 23, batted .321 with seven homers and 46 RBIs for Midland, and was a Texas League All-Star.