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.”

Tigers release Francisco Rodriguez

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Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.

The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.

While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.

The Red Sox sign Jhonny Peralta

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The Red Sox have signed third baseman Jhonny Peralta to a minor-league deal. He’ll report to Pawtucket.

Peralta, 35, hit a paltry .204/.259/.204 in 58 plate appearances for the Cardinals this year. But with Pablo Sandoval on the disabled list — and ineffective when he hasn’t been — the Sox could use some infield depth.

This is the second former Tiger that former Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has picked up today, after signing Doug Fister. No word if he’s kicking the tires on Andy Dirks or Brennan Boesch.