Four days after accepting the Phillies' interim managerial position upon Ryne Sandberg's abrupt resignation, Pete Mackanin accepted a bigger role from the front office on Tuesday.
Mackanin, 63, will serve as the team's interim manager for the rest of this season. It's the third time he has performed such a role: He did so in 2005 for the Pittsburgh Pirates when Lloyd McClendon was fired and in 2007 for the Cincinnati Reds when Jerry Narron was let go.
"I think it's got to be a record: three different teams having this title, interim manager. But this is a first [because] I was first the interim interim and now I'm the interim," Mackanin joked. "It's a good feeling. I'm happy that I know what my fate is until the end of the season, and I'm looking forward to doing some good work."
Phillies president Pat Gillick, his newly appointed successor, Andy MacPhail, and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. came to the decision earlier Tuesday. Amaro said they didn't really consider external candidates.
"We didn't think that that was appropriate at this time, when we felt like we had in-house candidates that we think are going to be able to carry the message and the goal, and that's to continue to develop our young players," Amaro said.
Although Mackanin will have managed the final 87 games by season's end, it's more than likely MacPhail will make his own managerial hire after officially succeeding Gillick.
"I think it's pretty clear, and I think Pete knows this: This does not necessarily mean he's a candidate to take the job beyond this year by any stretch of the imagination," Amaro said. "I think that we're going to have basically a clean slate when we make that decision, and Pete may or may not be part of that decision-making process.
"But Pete understands that. He's being a good soldier, and we appreciate the fact that he's going to take on this responsibility because it is important for us."
Mackanin, who was Sandberg's third-base coach and former manager Charlie Manuel's bench coach before that, said he plans to continue to play the young players as much as possible to aid their development. One who has already drawn his praise is hot-hitting second baseman Cesar Hernandez.
When Chase Utley (right ankle inflammation) returns from the disabled list, who will man second base for Mackanin?
"That's a good question," Mackanin said. "I would like to think that Cesar has proven that he deserves the chance to be the everyday second baseman. That remains to be seen. I don't want to get ahead of myself. Let's just wait to see when Chase is healthy and how he feels and we'll go from there."
Jorge Velandia, a special assistant in the Phillies' player personnel department, will join the coaching staff as an assistant for the rest of the season. Velandia, 40, who also speaks Spanish and has a good rapport with the players, will help out wherever needed, Mackanin said.