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June 26, 2015

Ryne Sandberg abruptly resigns as manager of the Phillies

Pete Mackanin will take over on interim basis

Phillies MLB
062515_Sandberg-Ryne_AP Matt Slocum/AP

Ryne Sandberg announces his resignation as Phillies manager.

In a surprising bit of news, Ryne Sandberg has stepped down as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. He announced the move at a press conference at Citizens Bank Park on Friday afternoon. A decision that caught the Phillies off guard, Sandberg informed general manager Ruben Amaro and president Pat Gillick of his decision this morning.

"I do want to thank the Phillies and Ruben Amaro for the opportunity to do this with the club that originally drafted me in 1978," Sandberg told reporters. "It was a dream opportunity for me to put on a Phillies major league uniform and that's what really hits hard today as far as making it a difficult decision. With some leadership roles coming up, I think it was important for me not to be in the way with the way things have gone this year."

The Phillies are expected to hire former Orioles, Cubs, and Twins executive Andy MacPhail to head the club’s operations. Even before he decided to step down, there was natural speculation that both Sandberg and Amaro’s jobs would be under evaluation with the change in leadership. In this case, Sandberg decided to beat the Phillies to the punch and make a decision that was likely coming at some point anyway.

"When it really hit me home, I felt it was better now than later for myself, for my family, and for the organization going forward," Sandberg said.

Visibly emotional, Sandberg cited the team’s poor record as another reason for his resignation. The Phillies, who were expected to be one of the worst teams in baseball, currently have a record of 26-48. In two-plus seasons with the Phillies, Sandberg's record as manager was 119-159.

“The accumulation of losses was something that I take responsibility for and something that really took a toll on me,” he said. "As far as having a chance to compete and win games, that's where my mindset was coming out of spring training."

Sandberg, who was frequently criticized for his interactions with his players in the clubhouse, apparently did not address the team before talking to the media. According to The News Journal's Meghan Montemurro, the players were told of their manager's decision at a 3:15 p.m. meeting with Amaro. 

"We're going to have to digest it for at least a little bit more than a half-hour," Cole Hamels said. "At the same time, I think us focusing on the game of baseball will kind of help. You just really have to understand the situation in a little more detail and I don't think we have that kind of detail."

Amaro announced that third base coach Pete Mackanin will take over managerial duties on an interim basis.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann