Ryne Sandberg to Third Base Coach Among Changes in Phillies Dugout

Ryne Sandberg to Third Base Coach Among Changes in Phillies Dugout

When the Phillies announced several changes in their coaching staff roughly an hour or so after the season ended, speculation was Triple-A manager and Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg would be hastily promoted to the position of bench coach.

On Thursday, Sandberg was indeed hired by the big club, but reportedly to be the team's third base coach. Nothing further -- for now at least.

Sandberg replaces Juan Samuel after one year over there, though unlike several others, Samuel retains a job (for now). Bench coach Pete Mackanin, first base coach Sam Perlozzo, and hitting coach Greg Gross were all left go. No word just yet on what Samuel will do for the club, but taking over for Perlozzo would be my guess.

Also promoted from Lehigh Valley were hitting coach Steve Henderson, who will presumably replace Gross there, and Rod Nichols.

The hires no doubt will be seen as a way to placate Sandberg, who many believe could be the next manager of the Phillies. Charlie Manuel has one year remaining on his contract, and whether it's due to his team potentially under-performing again, or at age 69 this coming season he simply chooses to step down after next season, it could be his last in the organization.

Many see Sandberg as his replacement. The IronPigs made their first ever playoff appearance under Ryno in 2011. Of course, there is nothing keeping another team from swooping in and naming Sandberg their manager now, as at least in Philadelphia he is viewed as hot candidate.

Sandberg has interviewed with the Cubs in the past -- the team he spent the majority of his big league career with -- but for now seems content biding his time with the Phillies organization. That's good news, as one way or the other, Charlie can't manage forever. He will manage at least one more year however, just with a barrage of new faces around him.

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

GALLOWAY, N.J. -- With Joel Embiid's excitement to be on the court following two years of injuries comes the reality of his lengthy setback.

Embiid is participating in his first NBA training camp this week. While he has impressed with his natural abilities and improved skills, Embiid is facing challenges as he gets accustomed to the league.

"Everything is kind of off right now as far as catching the ball or shooting," Embiid said after practice Wednesday. "I've still got to get in the flow of the game."

Embiid has yet to play since being drafted in 2014. For the past two years he has worked out individually and in controlled settings. Practices, even in training camp, are different. 

"You see all the time when you realize he hasn't played basketball for a long time," Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. "He's trying to gather his feet and find his balance, he's trying to figure out stuff in real time speed on defensive assignments and rotations."

On Wednesday, Embiid went through practice without any minute restrictions and was feeling healthier from the cold and virus he had been battling (see story). Teammates have praised his physical presence and eagerness to compete. He makes an impact with his 7-foot-2 presence alone, but there is more he wants to improve. 

Embiid is adjusting to the speed of the game. He has been facing challenges with getting the ball in the post and spoke to the coaches about his frustrations. The staff explained they are focusing on pick-and-roll defense and getting out to run during training camp, but he will get that desired location in game situations. 

“You continue to see the size of Joel Embiid,” Brown said. “He's a big man and he's got a mindset to back up his physical gifts. He really wants the ball. He wants to get deep catches. He wants to dunk on people.”

Embiid always has been realistic about his transition to his rookie season. He has pointed out many times that he is a fast learner, and is anxious to soak up new knowledge and apply it to the court.

"It's really frustrating," he said. "But like I've said, you've got to trust the process, which I've been doing."

Tonight's lineup: Cody Asche starts in place of injured Roman Quinn

Tonight's lineup: Cody Asche starts in place of injured Roman Quinn

With Roman Quinn's season over with an oblique strain, Freddy Galvis moves up to second in the Phillies' lineup Wednesday night against the Braves.

Quinn's showing in the majors this month was a microcosm of his pro career to this point — he showed his speed with four steals and several infield hits, posted a .373 OBP in 69 plate appearances, but suffered another injury. Health has always been his roadblock.

With Quinn out, Cody Asche gets a start in left field against Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, who he's homered off of. The presence of Quinn and Aaron Altherr has limited Asche's playing time — he's started only three games since coming back from Triple A on Sept. 10.

Asche bats seventh, a spot ahead of Aaron Altherr, who is 7 for 52 (.135) in his last 18 games and has four extra-base hits in his last 133 plate appearances.

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Ryan Howard, 1B
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Cody Asche, LF
8. Aaron Altherr, RF
9. Adam Morgan, P

Matt Kemp, who sat last night, returns to the Braves' lineup.

1. Ender Inciarte, CF
2. Adonis Garcia, 3B
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Matt Kemp, LF
5. Tyler Flowers, C
6. Dansby Swanson, SS
7. Mallex Smith, RF
8. Daniel Castro, 2B
9. Mike Foltynewicz, P