Dallas Green, Ryne Sandberg’s baseball godfather, keenly watched Sandberg’s return to Wrigley Field as Phillies manager over the weekend.
As Cubs general manager in 1982, Green snared then-prospect Sandberg in a big deal with the Phillies. On the other end of Sandberg’s Hall of Fame career, Green, 79, now a senior Phillies advisor, recommended Sandberg’s return to his original team.
“Pat Gillick and I were shocked ... that the Cubs weren’t really going to consider Ryno for the manager’s job,” Green said of then-GM Jim Hendry’s 2010 pick of Mike Quade over Sandberg after the latter’s four-year managerial apprenticeship starting near the bottom of the Cubs farm system.
“The dumbest thing I ever heard. He paid his dues. Managing in Triple-A is very, very difficult. You got all kinds of players with all kinds of agendas, and you got to try make them into a team. He did that, and I don’t think they appreciated it.
“We’re happy to have him. Pat and I went to bat for him to get him back into Philadelphia (as Triple-A manager in 2011). He’s going to be a very, very good (big-league) manager.”
Mallee boosts pitch recognition: Schererville’s John Mallee, the Astros’ hitting coach, believes many players possess instinctive pitch recognition and strike-zone discipline when drafted.
So how does Mallee improve those qualities to craft on-base percentage masters by the time they’re in the majors?
“They learn to zone hit,” Mallee said. “If I’m a left-handed hitter and handle the ball middle-away (facing a right-hander), I’m taking everything that’s in, even it’s a strike. That’s called selective-aggressive hitting.
“You can help him improve that. Not just taking pitches. It’s not just taking to take or swinging to swing. It’s doing it with a purpose.”
Fast finish: The Sox’s Chris Sale is determined to wrap up 2013 with a finishing kick. He already has passed up last year’s full-season strikeout (192) total by one. Sale recorded his fourth 12-strikeout game Wednesday.
“I feel good,’’ said Sale, who was lifted Wednesday in the ninth inning after 107 pitches. “My arm feels loose, my body feels good.
“Something (pitching coach Don Cooper) and I have talked about is last year I kind of limped across the finish line. This one he’s like ‘Let’s sprint across at the end of the year.'"