Cards want to talk to Sandberg, Cubs don't

Ryne Sandberg coached Lehigh Valley this past season and could be in the majors as a manager in 2012. (Yong Kim/Staff file photo)

In a strange twist of events, it appears Ryne Sandberg will not return to Chicago, and instead, he could manage the Cubs' top rival in 2012.

Sandberg, still under contract with the Phillies as their triple-A manager, will interview with the St. Louis Cardinals to replace the recently retired Tony La Russa. was the first to report the Cardinals requested the Phillies' permission. 

The Cubs fired Mike Quade on Wednesday, but new team president Theo Epstein effectively ended any speculation about Sandberg becoming a Cub again. In a statement, Epstein said Chicago's new manager "must have managerial or coaching experience at the major league level." Sandberg has neither.

Sandberg remains under contract with the Phillies although he signed only a one-year deal to manage Lehigh Valley. Phillies officials were more than pleased with the job he did, taking the IronPigs to the postseason, and want him back in 2012. But they will not stand in the way of a possible promotion for the Hall of Famer.

There still could be a spot on the Phillies' staff for Sandberg. Bench coach Pete Mackanin interviewed for the Boston managerial job. If Mackanin is hired there, the Phillies would likely promote Sandberg to the major-league staff. That is, if he doesn't already have a manager's job elsewhere.

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