Ryne Sandberg could coach in Chicago … with the White Sox

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Ryne Sandberg was passed over for the Cubs’ managerial job, but perhaps the Hall of Famer could end up coaching in Chicago after all.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen praised Sandberg during a radio interview today and seemed open to the possibility of Sandberg joining his coaching staff if third base coach Joey Cora leaves to take the Brewers’ manager job.

Here’s a Guillen quote from the interview, via the Chicago Tribune:

Sandberg is a great baseball man and I don’t know him personally, but you need to hire a coach to help you win games. I say Ryno, after so many years playing in the big leagues and managing for a few years in the minor leagues, I don’t see why not, to help you as a bench coach.

Sandberg was named Pacific Coast League manager of the year at Triple-A this season, but said after finishing runner-up to Mike Quade for the Cubs’ job that he planned to pursue a big-league gig for 2011. If nothing else, spending a season as Guillen’s right-hand man would give Sandberg plenty of material if he ever wanted to write a book. Or if he ever wanted to go insane.

Umpire Cory Blaser made two atrocious calls in the top of the 11th inning

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The Astros walked off 3-2 winners in the bottom of the 11th inning of ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees. Carlos Correa struck the winning blow, sending a first-pitch fastball from J.A. Happ over the fence in right field at Minute Maid Park, ending nearly five hours of baseball on Sunday night.

Correa’s heroics were precipitated by two highly questionable calls by home plate umpire Cory Blaser in the top half of the 11th.

Astros reliever Joe Smith walked Edwin Encarnación with two outs, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to bring in Ryan Pressly. Pressly, however, served up a single to left field to Brett Gardner, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Hinch again came out to the mound, this time bringing Josh James to face power-hitting catcher Gary Sánchez.

James and Sánchez had an epic battle. Sánchez fell behind 0-2 on a couple of foul balls, proceeded to foul off five of the next six pitches. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Sánchez appeared to swing and miss at an 87 MPH slider in the dirt for strike three and the final out of the inning. However, Blaser ruled that Sánchez tipped the ball, extending the at-bat. Replays showed clearly that Sánchez did not make contact at all with the pitch. James then threw a 99 MPH fastball several inches off the plate outside that Blaser called for strike three. Sánchez, who shouldn’t have seen a 10th pitch, was upset at what appeared to be a make-up call.

The rest, as they say, is history. One pitch later, the Astros evened up the ALCS at one game apiece. Obviously, Blaser’s mistakes in a way cancel each other out, and neither of them caused Happ to throw a poorly located fastball to Correa. It is postseason baseball, however, and umpires are as much under the microscope as the players and managers. Those were two particularly atrocious judgments by Blaser.